Allen & Overy at back-end of gender diversity league table as magic circle giant reveals just 8% of its new partners are female

On the other hand, Pinsents and Mishcon have made up 60%+ female partners

Allen & Overy has announced it has promoted 24 of its lawyers to partner level. Just two (8%) of them are women.

The magic circle outfit is one of many firms to pledge its commitment to gender diversity in its top ranks by setting a target, for Allen & Overy one of 20% female partners globally by 2020. However, this week’s promotion results show the firm may be some way off meeting this. The firm has expressed its “disappointment” with the figures in the legal press.

Looking at the capital in isolation, Allen & Overy made up 10 new London partners this year. Only one (10%) is female. In very stark contrast, last year 50% of the firm’s lucky London-based newbie partners were women.

A number of other firms have also posted partner promotion figures with low female numbers.

Addleshaw Goddard, for example, made up five new partners (two in the United Kingdom); none are women. Berwin Leighton Paisner’s 2017 result is also 0%, with all four of its new partners male. Allen & Overy’s magic circle rival Linklaters has promoted 26 new partners across the globe. Five of these are female (19%), with two based alongside six new male partners (25%) in the firm’s London base. The firm has pledged a 30% female partnership by 2018.

Clyde & Co has posted similar international stats. Two of its nine newbies are female, meaning the firm sits on a par with Fieldfisher at 22%.

However, these two outfits are poles apart when it comes to their UK-only results. Clyde & Co made up three UK partners; two are female (67%). Fieldfisher made up eight UK partners; two are female (25%).

Making our way towards higher percentages, Herbert Smith Freehills boasts a 29% score this year, and sits just below Macfarlanes on 33%. The former made up nine partners in the UK, two of which are female (22%).

Slaughter and May is in the forties internationally (43%), though just one of its five new London partners is a female (20%). Unlike the two other magic circle firms to release its 2017 data so far, Slaughter and May does not have a formal gender diversity target.

The two firms to promote more women this year than they did men, so far anyway, are Mishcon de Reya (67%) and Pinsent Masons. The latter made 16 new partner promotions in 2017, 11 of which are female (69%). This means the firm has now reached its target of a 25% female partnership by 2018.

2017 partner promotions so far, listed by international female partner percentage:

Name of firm New female partners (international) New female partners (UK) Does this firm have a female partners target?
Pinsent Masons 11/16, 69% 9/13, 69% 25% by 2018
Mishcon de Reya 2/3, 67% 2/3, 67% No
Slaughter and May 3/7, 43% 1/5, 20% No
Macfarlanes 1/3, 33% 1/3, 33% No
Herbert Smith Freehills 6/21, 29% 2/9, 22% 30% by 2019
Clyde & Co 2/9, 22% 2/3, 67% No
Fieldfisher 2/9, 22% 2/8, 25% No
Linklaters 5/26, 19% 2/8, 25% 30% by 2018
Allen & Overy 2/24, 8% 1/10, 10% 20% by 2020
Addleshaw Goddard 0/5, 0% 0/2, 0% 30% by 2019
BLP 0/4, 0% 0/2, 0% 30% by 2018

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45 Comments

Jenny

And before anyone says it, the A &O partners were *not* appointed by merit! Why would a business in a highly competitive industry seeking to maximise its profit margins do that when the misogynistic partners can get a kick out of gathering together in a male only drinking room to laugh at their rejection of the female associates again? Destroy the patriarchy!!!

(15)(15)
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Tim

That’s easy. Half the population are female, so the shortfall can only be explained by discrimination.

Unless you want to dig yourself deeper into your hole by arguing that they were excluded on merit? That would make you a misogynist.

(2)(22)
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Just Anonymous

Far too simplistic. The nursing profession is dominated by women. Does that imply men are actually discriminated against in that profession?

Your analysis assumes that on average, men and women are the same, want the same things and make the same choices. I suggest that patently is not true.

(23)(1)
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Bumblebee

Tim’s been leaving quite a few comments on LC recently.

It’s very hard to discern if he’s got very poor reasoning skills or brilliant and yet subtle trolling skills. It’s right on the cusp.

I like to think it’s the latter and, if I’m right… well played, Mr Tim, well played…

(7)(1)
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Tim

Actually, I’m a profoundly Deaf law graduate who can see what this profession is like.

People don’t like me telling them what it’s like.

Racist, sexist, homophobic and, especially, disablist.

(3)(7)
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Bumblebee

Arghh. This is so irritating – I literally cannot work if you’re a troll or not. If yes, this very comment I’m writing proves that you are astoundingly good at what you do.

(5)(0)
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Tim

Women are over represented in the nursing profession for a very similar reason that posh white males are over represented in high office of the legal profession.

The posh white males think that only they are good enough for high legal office, but too good for the nursing profession.

Societal expectations and trends are underpinned by historical sexist ideology.

You’ve scored a goal – an own goal, that is.

(5)(9)
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Tim

When somebody replies to my argument with a personal attack rather than make any attempt to refute it on its merits, I know I have done a good job.

(1)(5)
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Bumblebee

“Slaughter and May does not have a formal gender diversity target.”

How radical and refreshing. Will it catch on though? I mean, surely firms should base their promotion and recruitment strategies on whether or not candidates have a vagina, right? I mean that’s just common sense. It’s progressive, logical, sensible and fair.

(36)(4)
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Tim

A straw man argument combined with an appeal to ridicule.

They will not be selected just because they are women, but because of the combination of merit and under representation.

(4)(2)
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Anonymous

I have the solution! Just get all the male partners to tell KK they identify as women! Hey presto: 100% female recruitment. Everyone’s happy!

Wait? What’s that you say? Not really women? How transphobic of you…

(33)(2)
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Tim

Absolute codswallop up a pear tree with bells on it.

Pretending to be trans doesn’t meet the important requirement of being traditionally discriminated against and thus underrepresented.

Try without the silly horses laugh arguments.

(2)(3)
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The Obligatorily Patriarchal Comment

It would be fantastic if women realised that they can’t have their cake and eat it. You can either have a pregnancy and meaningful contact with your child during the first few years of its life, or you can have the 9-11 life of partners, which, amongst other things, tends to require you to be physically mobile and available at short notice.

Women who try to have everything and then realise that they can’t irritate me.

(9)(8)
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Anonymous

You ought to mention the other A&O news story – that they’ve just been awarded the Queens award for enterprise : Promoting Opportunity through Social Mobility. But I suppose it’s not ‘click-bait’ .

(9)(0)
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Tim

Why does the legal profession not include disability diversity in these drives?

After all, if you exclude some underrepresented groups from diversity, then you don’t really do diversity at all.

And no nasty jokes about animals being underrepresented, thanks. The profession is nasty enough without compounding its horror.

(2)(4)
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Three legged horse

You can at least get your facts right. For your information, we animals are not underrepresented. I got a TC at Irwin Mitchell last year, and am now their managing partner.

(2)(1)
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Tim

Northern Powerhouse you are only coming up with half the shite you do because you feel entitled and fantasise that you are superior to others.

I owe you nothing.

(0)(2)
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Anonymous

I believe a number of firms do have disability networks/support events aimed at targeting this, even if not a specific target quota. For example, I know Herbert Smith Freehills have a network called ‘Ability’ to support its employees with disabilities, and sponsors an essay prize and mooting championship at Oxford, both on disability law and with a strong focus on getting people with disabilities involved. I’m sure other firms have something similar?

(1)(0)
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Anonymous

People are so incredibly defensive and angry in the comment threads on Katie’s articles about discrimination.
Goes to show why feminism is still needed.

(2)(6)
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Anonymous

Indeed. Mere reporting of diversity statistics on this site never fails to spawn numerous comments that boil down to: “IT’S ALL DONE ON MERIT THERE’S NOTHING WRONG LALALALALALA NO THOUGHT NEEDED BUSINESS AS USUAL PLEASE.” That in itself is an indicator that all is not well. Why do people struggle to even countenance that there might be some structural sexism involved here?

(1)(0)
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