Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co (WLG) has adopted gender diversity targets to underpin its commitment to increase the number of women in its global partnership to 30 per cent by 2026. It has set an interim target of reaching 25 per cent by 2021.
Currently, 20 per cent of its partners are female although this rises to 50 per cent at director level (the equivalent of salaried partners in many other firms), while at principal associate, senior associate and associate level the figures are over 55%.
The firm believes it is vital to improve the gender balance of its partners to better reflect the diversity of its clients and to ensure a more diverse perspective on the running of its own business.
In 2011 the firm launched More Women, a programme which has delivered a number of positive initiatives such as unconscious bias training, maternity coaching, agile working and network and development events for both employees and clients.
In 2015, the firm took part in the 30% Club’s Talent Survey and examined its turnover, promotion, maternity returners and pipeline figures from a gender perspective. The result of this work was a consensus that a commitment towards a gender target would result in even better results and faster progress.
A number of complementary initiatives are also being deployed alongside the adoption of targets. These include more agile working where initially members of the Commercial Litigation team are being encouraged to work one day per fortnight from home, with a wider roll out provisionally planned for later in 2016. A more robust mentoring programme will roll out later in 2016, and there will also be inclusive leadership workshops and more unconscious bias training.
In early 2016, Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co will combine with Canadian-headquartered law firm Gowlings to form Gowling WLG, a new international firm that will be home to more than 1,400 legal professionals across 18 cities worldwide.
Currently, 27 per cent of the Gowlings partnership is female against an average of 20 per cent in the Canadian market (based on research by the Justicia Project). In addition, over half of Gowlings’ offices across Canada are led by female managing partners.