Men still dominate law at the top level

No progress on gender diversity at partnership level in the City

As the picture of 2013 partnership promotions begins to come into focus, the forecast for women remains bleak, reflecting the fact that the profession is failing to get to grips with issues surrounding gender diversity.

The number of women being promoted to partner across the City is flatlining, a representative sample survey by The Lawyer shows.

Of the 14 law firms that have so far revealed their partnership promotions profile, Bird & Bird is leading the pack, with 64 per cent of this year’s intake being female.

A look at the figures over the past five years shows 2Birds to be a market leader in this regard, with more than a third (36.6 per cent) of its promotions over that period being women. This is somewhat misleading, however, as the figure is skewed by the balance of 2013’s 11-strong intake, seven of whom were women.

Macfarlanes, too, appears to be a market leader in 2013, with its four promotions split evenly in terms of gender. Yet over the past five years the firm is seen to lag behind the rest of the sample, with just 16 per cent of its total of 29 promotions being women.

Likewise, Allen & Overy has made 57 promotions over the past five years, just eight of whom were women – clocking in at a mere 16.3 per cent.

And the picture looks even bleaker when you consider that the Law Society last week revealed that the gender pay gap is, well, gaping. Data gleaned from 633 private practice lawyers was analysed, producing evidence that the average salary for a male lawyer is £60,000, compared with £44,000 for their average female counterpart.

There is no doubt about it, the profession must do better.