Baker & McKenzie has introduced a target of 30 per cent female equity partners as part of a push to increase women’s involvement at the firm’s highest levels.
Its global equity partnership is currently 15 per cent female, while 23 per cent of all London partners – including salaried partners – are women.
The US firm has not set a timescale for the aim, which also involves rolling out its existing US and European gender policies in newer markets across Asia.
The firm’s longstanding BakerWomen group has been active putting on events advancing women’s opportunities, while last year two of its three London partner promotions were female, including corporate specialist Emily Carlisle, who currently works part-time.
Senior female figures at Bakers include former Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Vietnam managing partner Poh Lee Tan, who is still a corporate partner in the firm’s Hong Kong office, and former executive committee chairman Christine Lagarde, now managing director of the IMF.
London partner and executive committee member Beatriz Araujo said in a statement: “Baker & McKenzie has a long history of women in leadership positions, and as the first global law firm, a culture of diversity and inclusion is in our DNA.
“We believe that a diverse workforce is a stronger workforce and one that enables us to better respond to the needs of our clients and the communities in which we work. Like many firms, though, we believe we have further to go, and we have implemented a wide range of programs to encourage the retention and promotion of women within our firm and to ensure that more women assume leadership positions. Those programmes include mentoring and leadership programs, unconscious bias training and metrics to evaluate our progress.
“We continue to look for new and innovative ways to bring this issue to life and also work with our clients on developing a joint understanding.”