Linklaters launches leadership scheme to target female recruitment and retention

Linklaters has launched a Women’s Leadership Programme aimed at attracting and retaining female talent at the firm.

It comes just months after Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer revealed it was considering whether to introduce targets for the number of female candidates put forward for partnership promotion each year (25 May 2012).

Linklaters said the programme is aimed at providing a structured means of targeting those with the strongest potential as early as possible.

The scheme, which has been conceived in partnership with Cranfield School of Management, will be piloted at Linklaters’ London and continental European offices. There will be 25 places available on the course to female managing associates.

There are 25 places available to women managing associates in these offices

Linklaters partner Vanessa Havard-Williams commented: “We have a profile of lawyers that I imagine is the same as our competitors and we lose more women than men earlier on in the [recruitment] process. I know it is the same across the sector. We wanted to think about how we might encourage and support women and see if we could improve that profile.”

Asked why the firm is better at retaining men rather than women she said: “You can’t pinpoint anything in particular, people give lots of different reasons. You can see there are lots of different pressures for any working woman.”

Litigator Christa Band added: “As a firm we’re keen to do whatever we can to motivate, inspire and support our women lawyers. This programme is one of a number of initiatives and we hope that it will provide a structure for the support and further development of our most talented women.”