Study urges equality on partnership

LAW firms must make concerted efforts to ensure that women receive the same opportunities as their male colleagues to reach senior levels, a report says.

The report is produced by the newly-formed Young Women Lawyers group.

It says that despite Law Society statistics which show 44 per cent of solicitors admitted nine years ago were women, only 25 per cent of partnerships announced this year were given to female lawyers.

The report claims it takes an average of six to eight years to reach partnership level and the lack of promotional opportunities available to women should be cause for concern.

Carried out from April to June this year, the study canvassed 100 of the top law firms in the country, of which 58 responded.

Positive signs of improvement in the awareness of anti-discrimination are reflected in the results, with 65 per cent of firms putting anti-discrimination policies in place in

advance of the 18 July deadline for the implementation of the Law Society's rule.

Almost half of the firms which responded provide maternity benefits in excess of the statutory minimum and a number offer 100 per cent or more of full salary for a six-month period.

YWL vice-chair Clare Mc Glynn, co-author of the report, says the study shows “things clearly are happening”. However, she warns the statistics on partnerships show there is still much to be done.