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|
|Allen & Overy||133||25||16||2||3||60|
|Slaughter and May||88||17||16||0||0||0|
|Source: The Lawyer|