HSF: 30 per cent of our partners will be women by 2019

What will 2018 look like? It’s a question The Lawyer put out last September, when we predicted that women would still represent less than 20 per cent of partners in the UK top 20.

But firms are taking fate into their own hands, with a rising number setting partnership targets for the years ahead. Herbert Smith Freehills, which last year became the first top-10 UK firm to appoint a female CEO, is the latest to do so. The target is to have 30 per cent of women in its partnership by 2019, rising from the 19.3 per cent recorded last year.

The move comes less than two weeks after Pinsent Masons set a similar target, aiming for 25 per cent by 2018. The firm’s partnership was made up of 19.8 per cent of women last year.

All very nice, but let’s not forget that – despite all the noise – there’s been hardly any change in the representation of women over the past five years. In 2012/13 just 17.6 per cent of partners in the UK legal market were women, rising barely an inch from the 16 per cent recorded in 2006.

Marketing puff be gone – let’s take this 30 per cent seriously.

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