Revealed: females make up less than 10 per cent of top 100's equity partner ranks

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  • Anonolady - if your firm is taking on more female than male trainees, that is as discriminatory as a firm making up more men than women. The reason more men are made up is they tend to work longer hours and bring in more work - law these are necessarily the criteria for becoming partner, law firms aren't charities. How else should elevation to partnership be decided?
    If women, or men for that matter, choose to spend more time with their children that us their choice, but then they can't complain if their colleagues are promoted ahead of them. The fact ther are more women applying for training contracts and thus forming the bulk of trainees is a result of discriminatory social conditions. Therefore, there being more male partners is germane to there being more female trainees in terms of discrimination.

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  • ever heard of breast feeding dave cote???

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  • I'd like to see what the 0.36 equity partner looks like?

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  • It's very much like Anchorman.
    Sorry to see a Newcastle firm at the bottom of the ladder. I wonder if other Newcastle firms are similarly bad?

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  • The discrimination which women solicitors face is not by their firms in most cases. It is by their husbands.
    Most childless women have no problem in terms of career progression. It is attempting to balance child-rearing and working in a law firm that prevents women rising as they become unable to "give their all" the way male colleagues with a housewife can continue to. In making the same (ridiculous) demands of both male and female associates firms are not discriminating. Husbands are discriminating by expecting their careers to continue unaffected whilst their wives are left to juggle.
    Many succesful male solicitors don't see this as a problem. After all, if a woman does put in the hours she'll get made up right? The problem is that law has increasingly become a female profession and so it will become increasingly hard to fill out the senior ranks with lawyers of sufficient quality if the pool you draw from is largely male.
    The solution is for more rational working practices and allowing more balance for both men and women. A significant proportion of the long hours and facetime expected of solicitors (including in transactional areas) is a result of poor management, outdated approaches and machismo. It will be no loss to the economy, clients or the legal sector if the long hours culture was reduced and facetime eradicated.
    The reason this message doesn't get through is because so many current partners (whether male or female) got where they are by "putting in the hours" and so they regard that as the ultimate test of quality.
    It is also interesting that sexuality and gender issues get more time and attention than race issues and all three get far more time than class issues. This strikes me as quite obviously because there are an army of middle class people who feel they are entitled to a hand up because they are women, gay etc despite the numerous advantages they already have. When I was at a law firm there was a vocal lobby of privileged women who wanted allowances to be made for just them so as to promote their careers and otherwise were indifferent to the issue of fairness at the firm. This self-centred approach damages the cause of all who oppose discrimination. No discrimination issue should be separated from broader issues of fairness and access to the profession.

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  • Many cogent points made. As for the long hours culture, this is in no small part a function of billing by time. The simplest way to make more money is work longer hours. Even FEPs can have targets of 1800 hours. If a person's total commitment to the firm is meant to be between 2,500 and 3,000 hours, that is 6 - 8 hours every single day of the year. Throw in a holiday, maybe Christmas and the odd weekend, and parents' evenings, (and of course travel) and working full time will very likely mean 12 hour days during the week.

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  • "marjorie | 26-Oct-2012 9:50 am
    ever heard of breast feeding dave cote???"
    Thanks for the question Marjorie however belittling you may have intended it to be.
    I have in fact heard of breast feeding. In almost all cases I believe it to be the best nourishment for newborns, and only problematic when it's available to children who are 2, 3 or even 5 years old.
    Yet I take your point to have something to do with women who choose to breast feed needing to take time off in order to do so.
    Breast feeding is still a choice, like having a child or striving for a place at the equity table. Those may be incompatible choices and one must prioritize.
    However, they are not incompatible choices by reason of breast feeding. Many have successfully raised children, many breast fed through pumping, and still others by many other means that do not include their own breast milk.
    So I take your point, I completely dismiss it as far as a reason that women need to have a g'me or are entitled to access to the equity table.
    Please write again.

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  • "Harris Berry | 24-Oct-2012 3:52 pm - Why the sob story all the time. If they want to make partners they should work and they ll get made up. There is no magic to it".
    Ah yes, Harris - great point. OF COURSE the fact that 90% of equity partners are male can be explained SOLELY by the silly women not working as hard as their male counterparts. It's so obvious really. Glad we have a clever man like you around to point out the real reason behind the statistic. Your wife must be a LUCKY LADY!

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  • There is reseach which shows that women (with or without children) get fed up with the culture in law firms (whioh includes all the long hours etc,), not being appreciated, not getting access to the best work and not being promoted when their male colleagues are. So they leave. What a surprise.
    As well as the issue of women not getting promoted, firms need to think about what they do about women who have taken a career break. The reality is that they find it very difficult or impossible to get back into practice. I do not see any evidence that firms are doing anything about this, despite all the rhetoric. So the skills and experience of these women are lost, while at the same time law firms are saying where have all the women gone?
    This is really not a difficult issue to solve, if anyone really wanted to. The issue which has not been acknowledged in this discussion is that it is actually about power. Those who have power don't want to give it up and that's part of the reason why fewer women get promoted. Of course logically the best candidate should get promoted, but in fact many people make decisions based on emotions, then they try to justify them. Getting the real issues out in the open would be a good first step.

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  • To "Former magic circle senior associate" - to be childless is not necessarily to lack a husband

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