Nearly half of Irwin Mitchell’s new partners are women

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By Katie King on

Includes two who did their training contracts at the national firm


Commercial and personal injury giant Irwin Mitchell has announced 13 new partners in its 2016 partner promotion round, six of whom are women, including two who started out as trainees at the firm.

Irwin Mitchell — which currently has the highest proportion of women associates and third highest proportion of women partners in the country’s top 50 firms — revealed today that it has promoted a total of 13 lawyers to its top ranks.

These include Birmingham-based lawyer Rob Laugharne, Nottingham Trent grad James Knowles, former Addleshaw Goddard associate Rohan Campbell, chartered financial planner Ed Tomlinson, and court of protection specialist Charlotte Waite, who has only been an associate at the firm since 2010. Also promoted were Southampton BA holder Justine Spencer, Newcastle-based Katie Thackray, armed forces claims expert Andrew Buckham, Northumbria uni grad Claire Newstead, Tim Annett — who has a masters in healthcare, ethics and law — and qualified barrister Jennifer Lund. Paul Smith and Polly Sweeney finish off the latest promotions round, both of whom were originally trainees at the big name firm.

The latest partnership promotion round, which takes effect from 1 May, boasts a pretty even gender split of six (46%) women and seven (54%) men. This puts Irwin Mitchell very much in line with magic circle titan Allen & Overy, whose latest London partner promotions were 50/50 on the gender front.

It’s perhaps not surprising — Irwin Mitchell’s commitment to gender diversity has been well documented. The firm — which, according to its head of group communications anyway, has the UK’s most visited law firm website — currently has 34% female partners, an unusually high figure for such a big name outfit. The Irwin Mitchell associate workforce is, again unusually, also dominated by women, as 74% of its junior lawyers are female. This makes the firm seven percentage points ahead of its closest rival Mills & Reeve.

The new promotions are, therefore, very much in line with the firm’s ongoing commitment to diversity. A spokesperson for the firm told Legal Cheek:

We take our responsibility to build an inclusive and supportive working environment very seriously. We have a diversity board and one of the objectives is to be known as a leading place for female lawyers to work in terms of supporting career progression.