Frauleins in waiting

German gargantu-firm Hengeler Mueller still trails the field in diversity stakes

Despite being one of the rare European firms to have a female co-managing partner – Daniela Favoccia – Hengeler Mueller has a dismal diversity record.

In 2011 the firm had just three female partners out of a total of 86, putting it in 98th place in The Lawyer’s European 100 in terms of the representation of females in the partnership.

So you might have expected Hengeler to make efforts to improve the situation. After all, it has plenty of female lawyers in its ranks, and four of them have just been made up to counsel – three are 10-years’ qualified and another is eight years’ post-admission to the bar.

The promotions bring the number of counsel at Hengeler to 15, and 10 of them will be women.

But Hengeler has also announced its partnership promotions for 2013, adding four partners as of 1 January and yes, they’re all male. They’re also all young, in fact, more junior in terms of bar admission than the women who have joined the ranks of counsel.

Last year Hengeler announced it was allowing men to join its existing flexi-hours scheme, which had previously allowed women to cut their hours by 50 per cent for three years every time they had a child. Sadly, this attention to equality does not yet seem to have filtered down to promotions.

This year’s announcement shows Hengeler has some way to go, and even if next year finally sees some new female partners it will be years before the firm hits double digits on this metric.