Freshfields scheme aims to up female partner count

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has introduced a pilot mentoring scheme for senior female associates in a bid to up its female partner numbers, echoing the ’female buddy’ initiative it launched in 2006.

Mark Rawlinson
Mark Rawlinson

The ’Strategic Excellence Leadership Programme’, launched in May, will see senior partners from other departments act as mentors to associates, advising on career development.

Dispute resolution head Chris Pugh, global corporate chief Ed Braham and his London equivalent Mark Rawlinson have already signed up.

Global HR partner Caroline Stroud, who has been central to launching the new scheme, said it was “utterly different” from the female buddy scheme.

Stroud added: “This is much more fundamental, as we have the global senior management of the firm committed to it.”

The scheme, part of the firm’s gender diversity action plan, will see associates take part in two one-day workshops alongside monthly coaching calls with consultancy firm Aspire, as well as sessions with their senior partner mentor.

If successful the project will be rolled out to the wider international ­network.