Simmons & Simmons has implemented a raft of measures to address its poor standing on senior female representation.
The firm, which has the lowest proportion of female partners among the largest City firms at just 12 per cent, wants 30 per cent of all promotions to partnership to be female in the next three years. It also wants 40 per cent of all those to managing associate level to be women to create a pipeline into the partnership.
To achieve this the firm is providing unconscious bias training, examining its policies and procedures to ensure they do not contain gender bias, providing mentoring and renewing its support for flexible working.
Earlier this year Simmons increased its minimum maternity package for London staff from 22 to 26 weeks’ full pay, bringing it into line with market rates.
Managing partner Mark Dawkins said: “We have a tolerant culture and maybe assumed that would be enough [to boost female partner numbers]. But because of the culture I’m confident numbers will improve relatively quickly.”
On 1 November The Lawyer revealed that Addleshaw Goddard had become the first firm to create targets for female and ethnic minority partners with a specific timeframe, at 25 per cent and 10 per cent respectively, by 2014. This followed Clifford Chance’s declared ambition of having 30 per cent female partners, but without a specific a deadline.