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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.

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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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