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:

FirmMedian gender pay gapMean gender pay gap
Kirkland & Ellis68.2%33.2%
Shearman & Sterling54%39%
Weil Gotshal & Manges53.3%38.1%
Ince & Co42%28%
Stephenson Harwood39.8%24.7%
Travers Smith39.1%14.7%
Latham & Watkins38.9%39.1%
Herbert Smith Freehills38.8%19%
Slaughter and May38.5%14.3%
Clyde & Co38.2%22.4%
Mishcon de Reya37.4%17.3%
Womble Bond Dickinson37.4%29.3%
Clifford Chance37.2%20.3%
Reed Smith37.1%14.8%
Berwin Leighton Paisner (since merged)36.8%22.3%
Watson Farley & Williams36.4%22.9%
Burges Salmon35.2%23.3%
Mayer Brown34.2%15.3%
Mills & Reeve34.2%20.1%
Browne Jacobson34%21%
Taylor Wessing32.8%13.5%
Baker McKenzie32%17.4%
Osborne Clarke31.7%24.4%
White & Case31%24%
Howard Kennedy29.3%13.1%
Charles Russell Speechlys28.1%22%
Simmons & Simmons27.9%26.1%
Bird & Bird27.6%14.5%
Allen & Overy27.4%19.8%
Hogan Lovells26%15.3%
Eversheds Sutherland25.4%23.2%
Gowling WLG25%25%
Walker Morris24.1%19.9%
Norton Rose Fulbright23.8%17%
Hill Dickinson23.5%25.9%
DAC Beachcroft22.6%27.1%
Pinsent Masons22.4%22.4%
Squire Patton Boggs20.2%21.7%
Addleshaw Goddard16.4%23.8%
Irwin Mitchell15.9%12.8%
DLA Piper12.2%17.8%
Leigh Day9.9%9.1%
Trowers & Hamlins5.9%4.2%
Jones Day4.8%32.6%

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