Revealed: how close firms are to reaching their gender diversity targets

Avatar photo

By Katie King on

Some are doing well — next stop equality?

It’s partner promotion season.

Among the firms to have announced who is getting made up is Clifford Chance (CC). Last week the magic circle giant revealed that four out of 24 (17%) of its new partners are women, as the firm strives to reach its goal of 30% female partners globally. Currently 19% of CC partners are female (the figure is 21% in London).

With CC 11 percentage points away from reaching its goal (there is no set date by which the firm hopes to achieve this), how does this result stack up against other firms that have announced their new 2017 partners?

Let’s start with Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP), which also has a 30% target (to be achieved by next year). It is currently on 27%. The firm made up no female partners this year, though, although the pool was comparatively small, with just four (men) promoted in total. It looks like BLP has a fighting chance of achieving its target, but it will need to make up plenty of women next year.

Next up is Addleshaw Goddard, another member of the aspiring 30% club. The firm has informed us that globally its partners are 25% female. Addleshaw is aiming to reach the big 3-0 by 2019, and appears on course to potentially do so, despite promoting no women to partner this year.

Allen & Overy is also just a few percentage points away from reaching its target, though notably it’s a less ambitious one. The firm currently has 18% female partners; its target is 20% by 2020. Globally, 8% of its partner promotions this year were female.

Then there’s Pinsent Masons. The first to announce its partner promotions this year, the firm has surpassed its ‘25% by 2018’ gender target and has 26% female partners. Pinsents is now working towards obtaining 30% female partners.

CMS Cameron McKenna is also doing well on the gender diversity front. Despite not having an official target, the firm has told us that across the UK it has over 30% female partners. In its latest partner promotions round, announced yesterday, 27% of the 48 global partners made up are female. The UK figure is 40%.

Both Linklaters and Ashurst have a different approach to gender diversity targets.

The former is working towards 30% female board representatives by 2018, and also has a policy of all ongoing annual promotions to be made up of at least 30% women. The firm does not disclose what its current percentage of female partners is.

Ashurst by contrast aspires for 25% of its equity partners and 40% of its partner promotions year on year to be women by 2018. Just yesterday, the firm announced it has made up 19 partners and that four (21%) are women. Currently, 19% of the outfit’s partners are women.

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

Name of firm New female partners (international) Does this firm have a female partners target? Firms’ current percentage of female partners
Pinsent Masons 11/16, 69% 25% by 2018 26%
Mishcon de Reya 2/3, 67% No N/A
Reed Smith 12/25, 48% No N/A
Slaughter and May 3/7, 43% No N/A
Macfarlanes 1/3, 33% No N/A
Herbert Smith Freehills 6/21, 29% 30% by 2019 Figure to be released in May
CMS Cameron McKenna 13/48, 27% No N/A
Clyde & Co 2/9, 22% No N/A
Fieldfisher 2/9, 22% No N/A
Ashurst 4/19, 21% 40% of all partner promotions to be women by 2018 19%
Linklaters 5/26, 19% 30% of all ongoing partner promotions to be women Does not disclose this data
Clifford Chance 4/24, 17% 30% long-term 19%
Allen & Overy 2/24, 8% 20% by 2020 18%
Addleshaw Goddard 0/5, 0% 30% by 2019 25%
BLP 0/4, 0% 30% by 2018 27%

For all the latest commercial awareness info, and advance notification of Legal Cheek’s careers events, sign up to the Legal Cheek Hub here.