City law firms take nine spots in ‘Top 50 employers for women’ list

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But financial services took ten

The legal profession has taken an impressive 18% of spots on this year’s ‘Top 50 employers for women’ list.

Compiled by recruitment and careers advice website Business in the Community and featured in The Times print edition today, the list is non-ranked and includes employers from sectors such as energy, professional services, the military and the arts.

But the two big players this year are legal and financial services. Though the latter pipped the former to the post with ten positions filled (20%), the City law firm presence is strong.

Stronger than last year, in fact. In 2016, eight firms made the list. These were: Linklaters, Addleshaw Goddard, CMS Cameron McKenna, Eversheds, Hogan Lovells, Herbert Smith Freehills, Pinsent Masons and Simmons & Simmons.

Today’s landscape is broadly similar, though Simmons & Simmons is out and Ashurst and Norton Rose Fulbright are now in.

The firms to feature this year are: Linklaters, the only magic circle outfit to make the list, Pinsent Masons — which recently met its 25% female partners gender diversity target — and Addleshaw Goddard.

Then there’s Ashurst, Herbert Smith Freehills and soon-to-merge CMS Cameron McKenna which also take top spots, as does Norton Rose Fulbright which just this afternoon unveiled a 40% female partner promotions round. Rounding off the nine are newly-merged outfit Eversheds Sutherland and Holborn-based Hogan Lovells.

Other big names on the list include the British Army, the Department for Transport, EDF Energy, the Home Office, Marks & Spencer, MI5, Sky and Vodafone.


Revealed: how close firms are to reaching their gender diversity targets [Legal Cheek]

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As a man I find it slightly worrying that my being promoted to partner won’t carry any publicity benefit for a law firm. Therefore my business case for partnership is surely weakened, solely because I have a penis.



Your business case for partnership will surely be weakened by your poor logic and reasoning demonstrated above.



Where did the article on Jolyon Maugham go? Did he ask you to take it down?


A girl that hates this feminism movement!

Can we all stop having quotas in the work place?

Whoever is best for the job should get it!

Or alternatively let’s start celebrating all the male successes and have male only events for lawyers!



Testify for testicles. I, like you, am a woman who works in a law firm and I am sick to death of celebrating women in the workplace – having to ‘celebrate’ is indirectly sexist anyway (like “you couldn’t do it because you’re a woman, and yet here you are!”).

Why the hell can’t we celebrate ALL members of staff? International Men’s Day? I am sick of women getting special treatment by virtue of being a woman – positive discrimination and reverse sexism against men is infuriatingly common.



Gender inequality is infuriatingly common. Nobody is stopping you celebrating all members of staff (though I doubt you really would do).



How many of the law firms mentioned in this article have quotas for female partners?



“Let’s start celebrating all the male successes”? This argument is akin to “let’s start celebrating all the white successes, I don’t like racial equality” or “let’s start celebrating all the able-bodied successes, I don’t like all this disability inclusiveness”. It’s not a level playing field, you seem to have failed to notice.

“Let’s have male only events!” – most post-work socialising is exclusively/largely male anyway.


More to the story

If the workplace was a true meritocracy, where we didn’t have to make a concerted effort to challenge the institutional bias that disadvantages women and minorities, then firms wouldn’t have to be celebrating small (but mighty) wins such as achieving a 25% target. Particularly with entry into law firms being about 50/50 from a gender perspective.



I respectfully disagree with all of the opinions above. I am a female lawyer in one of the above-mentioned firms and I think that gender quotas are a necessary evil. Already, in only 5 years of working at that law firm, I have had a Partner to stare at my breasts and at my buttocks on numerous occasions. I have also heard male colleagues grumbling that maternity leave is basically a long holiday (you try pushing something the size of a melon out of a hole the size of your a*se and being woken every two hours for a feed) and another Partner congratulate female attendees for being the first and second people to ask a question in an external seminar: “another question from a woman!” Furthermore, the figures above don’t mention the familial status of those women, not that it should matter, but the majority that I have seen do not have children. The women with children generally tend to get stuck at Senior Associate level and never progress as quickly as less capable men. I think gender quotas are a necessary evil until we get to a point where childcare is (and is viewed as being) the responsibility of both sexes. Without women as partners, the partnership does not have the understanding of what their female employees would like and need – I know of a firm which only recently updated its maternity policy to no longer be the statutory minimum!



I agree with this. And I’m a bloke.



Having spent most of my career also at one of the named law firms (although no longer there), I agree wholeheartedly with the comments from anonymous (27 April 3:48pm). Law firms are still very much geared towards men succeeding and much of that is, unfortunately, down to women having children and often only having 2 real choices after having children; to either not seeing them grow up, or forfeiting career advancement. There are very few positive female role models for young female lawyers to aspire to amongst the partnerships of many large firms and I do not see this changing. This is why many (like me) gave up and decided to move in house where female lawyers are much better represented. Oh and in terms of sexism, of all the incidents I faced (of which there were many) I would say that 90% of them came from female partners, as most men were too wary of making overtly sexist comments (like lose weight, wear more make up, wear more skirts etc…). It is not encouraging.



Are male partners unlikely to make overtly sexist comments – yes. But their private thoughts, or, more commonly, unconscious prejudice, is another matter.

I am by no means saying that unconscious prejudice against women is a male thing only. I recently realised to my horror that I am somewhat unconsciously prejudiced against women (including myself) when it comes to assessing competence. Society persistently tells us men are more competent. It shouldn’t be a surprise that people of both genders internalise this.


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