Magic circle firms reveal gender pay gap results

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As government confirms reporting requirements scrapped in light of COVID-19 outbreak

Four out of the five magic circle circle law firms have now released their gender pay gap stats.

Combining total annual pay for all UK partners and employees together, Clifford Chance reported an overall mean gender pay gap of 65.7% — a year-on-year closure of 3.9% on its previous result of 68.9%. Its median is 45.7%.

The Canary Wharf-based giant said its overall pay gap remains significantly impacted by the level of remuneration that partners receive, the proportion of women in its UK partnership, as well as the high number of women in secretarial roles.

Among its associate ranks, Clifford Chance posted an hourly mean gender gap of 4.8% and a median of 3.4%, while its business services hourly pay gap sits at 25.8% (mean) and 35.2% (median), respectively.

Today’s report also shows the magic circle player’s overall mean sexuality pay gap has closed by 8% to 27.5%. Its ethnicity pay gap sits at 51.6% (mean).

Elsewhere, Freshfields posted an overall mean gender pay gap of 57.2% — down slightly from 57.6% in 2018. Its median sits at 24.2%. The gender pay gap among associates, however, is much lower, at 3.2%.

The firm also revealed black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) employees are paid, on average, 19.9% less an hour than their white colleagues. Factoring in partners, this gap jumps to 66.4%.

Allen & Overy also revealed its latest results, posting an employee and UK partner mean gender pay gap of 61.5%. Last year it posted a result of 61.2%. At its London HQ, total employee gender pay gap stands at 17.1% — down from 20% last year. Turning to the firm’s BAME results, the combined mean pay gap for UK partners and employees sits at 23.1% — up from 21.6% last year.

The 2020 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

Last December Linklaters revealed its gender pay gap for employees and UK partners is now 62.6% (mean) and 39.1% (median). The firm previously posted results of 61.1% and 37%, respectively. It’s gender pay gap for employees only shrank from 20.8% to 19.5%.

Commenting on the results, a spokesperson said: “Our mean and median gender pay gap for the whole firm, including partners, remains relatively unchanged. While our firm-wide pay gap remains relatively large, the pay gap within each quartile is significantly lower and in some cases either zero or marginally positive, reaffirming our commitment to providing fair and competitive rewards to all our people.”

Slaughter and May remains the only member of the magic circle yet to reveal its latest pay gap figures.

In March the government told businesses, including law firms, that they do not have to report on their gender pay gaps this year in light of the coronavirus outbreak. In a joint statement, Minister for Women and Equalities, Liz Truss, and Equalities Office and the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) chairman David Isaac, said:

“We recognise that employers across the country are facing unprecedented uncertainty and pressure at this time. Because of this we feel it is only right to suspend enforcement of gender pay gap reporting this year.”

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The gender pay gap is meaningless and just gives the moaning feminists more chance to leverage further advantages and inequalities in their favour. The different working patterns of women and, horrors of horrors, women who leave employment or full time employment to raise a family explain the entire alleged “gap”.



The pay gap is a myth,


Straight white man

All of them should be more.



If commercial law is a short term career then it’s great money for your 20s but long term prospects in the magic circle firms aren’t great for BAME candidates as they will earn significantly less and have minimal chance of making partner compared to their white colleagues. Sure it’s still decent money but you will basically slave away most of your life to not reap the same rewards in the end



What do you do for your self-pity parties during lock down? Do you hold them on Zoom?


Reality check

Wouldn’t expect you to understand the struggle as a privileged white male



Thank you for your racist comment. We will take it under consideration.



For BAME and female candidates they are better off at smaller firms as they will essentially get to be the ‘big fish’ in a ‘smaller pool’ where they are more likely to be taken seriously



What do you do for your self-pity parties during lock down? Do you hold them on Zoom?



Interesting piece. When will this data be released for the disabled pay gap?



No one cares, Tim.



Maybe they should. Isn’t apathy the problem?



I’m calling this now: Tim isn’t real.

Tim is a parody ‘account’, used by an individual pretending to be an irrational disability-obsessed social justice warrior, with the intention of mocking the same.



I’m sorry to hear that you don’t believe disabled rights are real. Perhaps we could meet in person to have a frank discussion on the topic?



Strawman again. Disabled rights are real. They are not the topic of this thread. The point was the you are either a troll acting in very poor taste or you have an extraordinarily obsessive personality, a tendency to weak argumentation, extremely thin skin and anger issues.


None of the above. I, perhaps wrongly, thought it was a reasonable opportunity, below the line on a diversity and equal opportunities related article to bring in other types of equal opportunities and discrimination. Perhaps I was wrong, but can we not make this personal please?


If someone tried to hijack every disability article with points about gender or ethnicity issues you would not like it. Please respect the boundaries of the article and the thread.


Oh, I’m sorry if I committed a faux pas. I simply wanted to widen the debate. If that was wrong or inappropriate I humbly apologise for any inconvenience caused and will cease commenting herewith. Have a wonderful day.


Thank you. I hope the sentiments in your post are sincere and that you will desist posting on every thread dealing with diversity or access issues other than disability. Time will be the judge, I suppose.


One trick pony at it again. Zzzzzzz.



If the one trick is fighting discrimination, I’m happy with that.



But you’re not. You just flame on threads on other topics, then make baseless accusations of bullying and end it off with flying off into a rage hurling insults. The three stages are seen time and time again. You never have had a single constructive point to make. And I bet if someone went onto a thread about disability issues and mentioned sexism, racism or ageism you would go off one too.



No, I would welcome the opportunity to discuss as I do with you now. I was simply taking the opportunity here to raise, I thought, the relevant point that data ought to be made available on payment for the disabled members of the legal profession. Do you agree or disagree with this proposition? I would like the hear your views and those of anyone else interested.


The gender gap data is so flawed that is shows nothing. Piling more burdens on industry to produce bad data is not the answer.


What would you suggest then? My view is that this exercise would be useful at least in forcing industry to consider what they pay certain groups and even if only a small percentage change their ways it’ll be worth it.


The exercise creates pointless data that show nothing. On that basis, what else are you suggesting?


I’m suggesting that any action to remedy pay discrimination is a positive move. As stated above, I appear to have offended at least one other fellow commenter with this thread so I will leave it there, and await Legal Cheek’s next piece on disability discrimination with interest.


So, when asked to provide a positive suggestion on the issue you baulk? Seems consistent with the sense of commentators that you are just a trolling flamer.


Not at all Billy, but thank you for attempting to engage on the issue. My suggestion is that companies ought to provide data on pay to those unfortunate enough to have a disability as they do for gender diversity, at least as a first step. I do apologise if that was at all unclear.

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