Freshfields’ gender pay gap smallest of the magic circle so far

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By Katie King on

Four out of five have now released their stats

Freshfields has revealed it has a gender pay gap of 13.9% mean and 13.3% median, the smallest of the magic circle firms released so far. Its bonus gap is 41% mean and 33.3% median.

The stats, which look at all employees at the firm and not just lawyers, have been released a few weeks before the 5 April deadline for the Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017 reporting. Other takeaways include that 64.5% of Freshfields’ women received a bonus last year versus 58.9% of men, and that female staff members who fall into the firm’s lowest pay quartile are actually paid, on average, 1.7% more than men.

More interesting for our readership is Freshfields’ snapshot look at trainee and associate pay. The magic circler stresses it pays its trainees equally, and releases a mean pay gap of 6% and a median of 7.4%. It says: “Although the population is split evenly between men and women across the whole associate group (50:50), the distribution of men and women changes when looking at each of the levels within our career framework with more men at the senior levels at present.”

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Freshfields’ hourly rate gap is the narrowest in the magic circle (though note Clifford Chance hasn’t released its stats yet, so that may change). To give you a quick rundown, Slaughter and May‘s gap is 14.3% mean and 38.5% median; Linklaters‘ is 23.2% and 39.1%; and Allen & Overy’s 19.8% and 27.4%.

A few other firms have released their stats too since our last gender pay gap update. These include Reed Smith, where women’s mean hourly rate is 14.8% lower than men’s. The median statistic is 37.1%. The City outfit, whose secretarial support staff are all female, lists its mean gender bonus gap as 27.1% and its median as 13.2%.

The firm, though not required to do so by law, has also released its partnership data. Reed Smith had 77% male partners and, at this top level, the mean gender pay gap is 0.8% and the median is 8%.

Two more firms’ gender pay stats to be aware of belong to White & Case and Macfarlanes. The former is the first US firm to release its pay gap, this being 24% mean and 31% median. Its bonus gap, like many firms’, is higher: 45% mean and 71% median.

Over at Macfarlanes, the stats are as follows: 16.5% mean pay gap and 37.1% median — a figure “higher than we would like”, says the firm. The mean bonus gap is 31.7% and the median is 14.8%; 94% of men and 94% of women received bonuses.

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