Female partners still battling the odds

Research by The Lawyer on the gender divide at the UK’s top 10 law firms reveals that the glass ceiling remains firmly in place, with female partners still a tiny minority even among salaried partners.
Salaried status is often
used as a second, less demanding tier of the partnership ladder, which could theoretically offer an alternative to women seeking a better work-life balance. But in some firms, including Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance and Lovells, it is primarily used as a gateway through which all equity candidates must go.
Even where salaried partnership operates as an interim level, however, the gender divide is glaring. Lovells and Eversheds are the best overall. Around 20 per cent of Lovells’ equity partners are women – much higher than other City firms – and crucially, around 43 per cent of salaried partners are women. Lovells is the only top 10 firm with a female managing partner. It also has a part-time partner scheme open to both sexes.
At Eversheds, 22 per cent of equity partners are female.
The worst performer is Herbert Smith, with women making up only 13 per cent of equity and 26 per cent of the salaried partnership.
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Slaughter and May have low numbers of female partners, but the split between salaried and equity partners shows them to be about average.

UK Male-Female Ratio of Top 10 Firms
Firm Male equity Female equity % of total Male salaried Female salaried % of total
Clifford Chance 134 22 14 33 18 35
Freshfields 152 25 14 0 0 0
Allen & Overy 133 25 16 2 3 60
Linklaters 161 34 17 3 2 40
Lovells 106 27 20 16 12 43
Slaughter and May 88 17 16 0 0 0
Eversheds 98 27 22 100 60 38
Herbert Smith 81 12 13 37 13 26
DLA 86 18 17 139 50 26
Norton Rose 69 15 18 30 10 25
Source: The Lawyer