Deadline for gender pay gap reporting is today — here’s how law firms have done

Avatar photo

By Katie King on

The outfits with the biggest (and smallest) pay gaps in the City

Today is the day all businesses with more than 250 staff members must, by law, release their gender pay gap data. With data from almost 60 law firms at Legal Cheek’s fingertips, now seems a good time to analyse and compare.

Unlike with retention rates or partner promotions, however, analysing and comparing isn’t as easy as it sounds. City outfits have released their stats in a myriad of ways — some inclusive of partner statistics, others not, for example. This makes the data very difficult to shimmy into a neat table where results can be compared like for like.

The gender pay gaps discussed in this piece have been calculated by looking just at firm employees, not partners, as is required by statute. To stress, a number of outfits did release partner data either adjunct to their employee data or within their overall pay gap, but the statistics discussed in this piece do not include this.

Using these statute-compliant sums, we can reveal that 59 firms have posted mean gender pay gaps ranging between 2.3% and 39.1% and median gender pay gaps ranging between 4.8% and 68.2%. The average pay gap (mean) for these firms was 21.1%, while the average pay gap (median) was 30.7%.

A full list of these firms, ranked from highest median gap to lowest, can be found at the bottom of this piece. The figures in this table relate only to law firms’ UK offices.

Generally, it seems firms’ median pay gaps are higher than their mean pay gaps. Thirty-two of the 59 firms have median gender pay gaps of more than 30%, yet only six firms exceed this 30% figure when we look at mean stats instead.

For some firms, their individual results differ markedly depending on whether you focus on their mean or median gap. Take Jones Day and Forsters as examples. The former has a 32.6% mean and 4.8% median gap, and Forsters has a 2.3% mean and a 20.4% median. That said, Gowling WLG’s (25%) and Pinsent Masons’ (22.4%) mean and median stats are exactly the same.

As for general trends, the widest gender gaps tend to lie with the US firms. (Though note that Jones Day has the lowest median gap of all the firms listed.) This makes sense given that data shows law firms with the fewest women pay the highest salaries.

The magic circle firms are far from grouped together in the table and appear all the way from the eighth highest spot (Linklaters) to the 54th (Freshfields).

Law firm gender pay gap round-up:

Firm Median gender pay gap Mean gender pay gap
Kirkland & Ellis 68.2% 33.2%
Shearman & Sterling 54% 39%
Weil Gotshal & Manges 53.3% 38.1%
Dechert 51% 34.8%
Ince & Co 42% 28%
Stephenson Harwood 39.8% 24.7%
Travers Smith 39.1% 14.7%
Linklaters 39.1% 23.2%
Latham & Watkins 38.9% 39.1%
Herbert Smith Freehills 38.8% 19%
Slaughter and May 38.5% 14.3%
Clyde & Co 38.2% 22.4%
Mishcon de Reya 37.4% 17.3%
Womble Bond Dickinson 37.4% 29.3%
Clifford Chance 37.2% 20.3%
Macfarlanes 37.1% 16.5%
Reed Smith 37.1% 14.8%
Berwin Leighton Paisner (since merged) 36.8% 22.3%
Watson Farley & Williams 36.4% 22.9%
Burges Salmon 35.2% 23.3%
Dentons 34.3% 22.4%
Mayer Brown 34.2% 15.3%
Mills & Reeve 34.2% 20.1%
Browne Jacobson 34% 21%
CMS 32.8% 17.3%
Taylor Wessing 32.8% 13.5%
Ashurst 32.7% 24.8%
Baker McKenzie 32% 17.4%
Withers 32% 19.4%
Osborne Clarke 31.7% 24.4%
White & Case 31% 24%
HFW 30.9% 17.4%
RPC 30% 26%
Howard Kennedy 29.3% 13.1%
TLT 29.2% 20.2%
Charles Russell Speechlys 28.1% 22%
Simmons & Simmons 27.9% 26.1%
Bird & Bird 27.6% 14.5%
Allen & Overy 27.4% 19.8%
DWF 26.5% 23.7%
Hogan Lovells 26% 15.3%
Eversheds Sutherland 25.4% 23.2%
Gowling WLG 25% 25%
Walker Morris 24.1% 19.9%
Norton Rose Fulbright 23.8% 17%
Hill Dickinson 23.5% 25.9%
DAC Beachcroft 22.6% 27.1%
Pinsent Masons 22.4% 22.4%
Fieldfisher 22.2% 16.5%
Forsters 20.4% 2.3%
Squire Patton Boggs 20.2% 21.7%
Addleshaw Goddard 16.4% 23.8%
Irwin Mitchell 15.9% 12.8%
Freshfields 13.3% 13.9%
Shoosmiths 13% 15.4%
DLA Piper 12.2% 17.8%
Leigh Day 9.9% 9.1%
Trowers & Hamlins 5.9% 4.2%
Jones Day 4.8% 32.6%

For all the latest commercial awareness info, and advance notification of Legal Cheek's careers events:

Sign up to the Legal Cheek Hub

Related Stories

The partner problem means law firm gender pay gap stats are pretty useless

A clutter of results impossible to compare

Mar 29 2018 12:52pm

Firms with the fewest women pay the most money

Burden lies with top-paying outfits to attract more women, researchers say

Feb 19 2018 10:22am

Female partners in London earn £165,000 less than male counterparts

Gender bias and nepotism still present, partners think

Jan 29 2018 10:44am