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

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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%

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Jones Day lol



omg kirkland



I guess like other US firms they didn’t include partners. Wonder whether salaried partners were included.



Just had to be Jones Day at the bottom lol



You do get that being at the bottom of this list is a good thing?



Who even cares



Who cares? Women.



Women are the only ones who care about a non-existent problem, which rational argument has debunked time and time again?

Sounds right.



Good piece KK






Loads of firms saying figures are reported on a blended basis, so percentages are impacted by positions filled primarily by one gender e.g. PA/secretarial positions (which are paid lower than associates) are primarily held by females. However, there are other departments where the pay is lower than that of associates and these roles are filled primarily by males, e.g. maintenance positions, printing team, etc.



Yes, the legislation states the minimum requirements of what has to be reported. No limits of supplementing the data and breaking it down e.g. between associates and support staff.


Equal pay is a little bit ...

Why should women earn the as men?

Men are much stronger and have beards and tool boxes so they should earn at least 20% more than women.

Women should make cakes and men should put up scaffolding. Then everyone knows where they are.



Answer right there in the first sentence. Attention to detail dear – and check before you post. Too quick to post a demeaning reply. Snore. Drivel. Complex.



women have babies. have loads of time off


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