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DLA Piper targets 30% global female partnership by 2025

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Linklaters ups gender diversity target after missing previous aim

DLA Piper is targeting a global female partnership of at least 30% by 2025, the firm has announced.

At present, the global law firm has a 21% female partnership, that it intends to increase to 30% within four years and double to at least 40% by 2030.

In addition, at least half of all its internal partner promotions will come from under-represented groups, which the statement says includes cultural heritage and ethnicity, gender and identity, disability and neurodiversity, background and social mobility, sexual orientation and people working part-time.

DLA Piper’s global co-chief executive officer, Simon Levine, said:

“The legal industry has long grappled with diversity and inclusion and good intentions alone will not get us to where we need to be. As well as simply being the right thing to do, ensuring a level playing field for everyone in our business and being representative of the communities we serve is critical in enabling the diversity of thought needed to help our clients solve complex problems and seize opportunities.”

He added: “Publicly stating our commitment means we are accountable. Achieving these goals will be only part of our journey, and we will continue on a path of setting goals for under-represented groups across the firm.”

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DLA Piper joins a growing number of law firms committing to diversify their senior ranks.

Freshfields announced this month it is targeting a global partnership of at least 40% women by 2026. Meanwhile, magic circle rival Clifford Chance set a similar goal of at least 40% female partners globally but by 2030.

Linklaters announced today it is targeting a firm-wide gender diversity target of 40% for its annual partner promotions round. The magic circle firm had failed to meet its previous aim of 30% between 2015 and 2020, with women accounting for 28% of all partner promotions on average during this period.

Charlie Jacobs, senior partner at Linklaters, said: “Ensuring gender equality is a global strategic priority for Linklaters. Our new gender diversity target will help us to build on our momentum and to further accelerate the pace of change, and is by no means our end goal as we strive for a more inclusive culture.”

He added:

“We will continue to challenge ourselves by setting stretching targets, measuring progress, and holding our leaders accountable.”

The diversity pledge comes as three female partners are said to be vying for the role of senior partner at the firm ahead of next month’s election.

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48 Comments

White Straight Male

Can anyone advise on how I can get a diversity characteristic so I don’t get discriminated against?

Could I declare myself as bi?

(94)(25)

Straight White Male Also

Nobody discriminated against you. You just weren’t good enough but you probably aren’t ready to admit that yet.

(15)(37)

Oh look up the sky

Correct to *Straight White Dumb Male, because that joke flew completely over your head

(3)(0)

Jarry H

@Straight White Male Also: Would you say that to the BAME candidates who didn’t make it?

(0)(1)

Anonymous

BAME is unhelpful for diversity.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

How dare you even think about a career in law as a male!!

(13)(4)

Anonymous

I assume they’ll also be looking at why fewer men than women are studying law and entering the profession, or does diversity only work one way?

What if there are fewer than 30% or 40% of suitable female candidates? Does that mean more able men will miss out to allow women to be promoted to meet a target? Is this happening already?

(22)(5)

Chill Pls

Lol, stop. Nobody has a vendetta against men, contrary to what you seem to believe.

(8)(15)

Chilled

So they will also be looking at why fewer men than women are studying law and entering the profession, or does diversity only work one way?

And if there are fewer than 30% or 40% of suitable female candidates? Does that mean more able men will miss out to allow women to be promoted to meet a target? Is this happening already?

(3)(2)

Barbara

What if there are more than 40% suitable female candidates? Swings and roundabouts. You aspire to general goal that is based on fairness and equality and which should be achievable without delving into specific candidates. Of course it might end up below 40%. It could well end up above 40%. That doesn’t make a 40% goal inappropriate

(1)(3)

Anonymous

If there are more than 40% suitable female candidates then there should be more than 40% female partners. If less than 40% there should be less. ‘Swings and roundabouts’ isn’t really good enough when assessing whether the best people are getting the top jobs. According to you, promotions can be decided based on targets and not merit, which clearly isn’t fair. By your logic it would be fine to make 40% of partners women even if only 5% of candidates are. 40%, or any other percentage, is clearly inappropriate either knowing the underlying candidate pool.

Durham Grad

Can anyone speak to how good a firm this is? Thinking of applying but don’t want to end up a mid-tier shop (no disrespect to any trainees or associates there) – genuine question so genuine answers please

(2)(14)

Elite Warwick Grad - 68.5% average final year i.e. basically a First

It’s pretty top. Not as good as CMS but still. I’d go for it.

(17)(3)

Joe

It’s wayyyyy better than CMS what are you on about lmao

(30)(16)

Adam

He was trolling. That’s what people do on Legal Cheek. It’s just a site for trolls lol

(10)(1)

Anonymous

Troller is as troller does Adam.

Serious

Not sure I would class DLA as much better than CMS…CMS actually ranks higher than DLA in the vast majority of the Legal 500 practice area rankings?? They’re both fairly comparable.

(33)(36)

Nathaniel H

There are clearly a lot of idiots like you who don’t have a clue.

In terms of firm revenue and profit, CMS is rubbish. You can’t compare CMS to DLA just because they have similarities in minor aspects.

When you compare them on a larger scale taking into account more important factors, DLA is clear.

Bill

People clearly don’t understand how law firms are actually run.

They are comparing Legal 500 practice area rankings and wonder why no one takes them seriously.

(3)(13)

Iron knee

How ironic. The Durham grad is talking about “mid tier”.

(28)(16)

Durham Grad

Touché

Got me there

(0)(4)

Confused

How is Durham mid tier?

(13)(21)

Should’ve studied harder

Cry more

(0)(1)

Ahem

The students who poke fun at Durham in the comments are almost always those who couldn’t get the grades to get in. If a student gets rejected by Oxbridge – which is the most likely outcome of an application – the best alternatives include UCL, LSE, Durham and perhaps Bristol/Warwick. Studying in London is awful unless you’re rich. In my view, Durham is the best alternative. High school students do read LC comment sections and they’ll probably think Durham is mid tier with all the abuse it receives on here. It’s not, really.

(21)(36)

Harry

The students who poke fun at Durham are usually Oxbridge students or Durham students themselves.

Get a grip

(13)(3)

Sid

Exactly! Why would other Russell group unis mock Durham

Jeff

Just by the other units listed you obviously don’t have a clue.

Warwick is a mess.

(10)(4)

ESJ

Warwick >

Don’t hate, son.

Forever Associate

It’s a genuinely friendly firm with good work-life balance and nice culture.

Spent a good few years at the firm and enjoyed my time there.

So many LLB’rs obsessed with MC title that they overlook any firm that isn’t in the 5.

(10)(1)

FlourPour

The LLBs are going to get a nasty shock when they arrive in London and everyone cool dislikes them for being a suit whether it’s a US/MC/SC/ETC suit.

(10)(0)

Forever Associate

This is amazing, I’ve been a long time LC reader and it only took a couple months of finally adopting a pseudonym for my first copycat. I feel honored, good sir.

I have never worked at DLA, but I have worked across from them and went for drinks with an associate or two from there. No one had any major gripes. They worked on some incredible matters in the London office. For example; years ago they acted for the insurers when BP tried to get their policy to cover the US criminal sanctions they faced for the Deepwater Horizon fiasco. Bants. I’d have no problem making a lateral move to DLA London if I knew they were serious about growing the practice area I am in.

If you are at any established international brand with a major London presence, you are going to have the opportunity to run “small” matters by yourself as a trainee/NQ, either working across trainees/NQs at similarly large firms or partners and senior associates at high street firms (the latter is really funny when the partners get flustered and demand they speak to a partner at your firm but you inform them the matter is not worth their time).

You will also spend the majority of your time as a small cog in a very big machine on the types of deals that high head-count firms get. You will spend 36 hours over 2-3 days putting a last minute application bundle together for multi-party dispute. You will be doing the third and fourth proofread of the transaction documents, tabbing signature lines, until 3AM the day before close. That is BigLaw life.

DLA, CMS, Bakers, Eversheds, Pinsents, HogLov, Simmons, Trowers, Dentons, MC/SC/US. All will have equal opportunity to make you stress eat and burn the midnight oil with promises of an NQ salary that annihilates the UK average income.

(14)(0)

Dan

I did the insight scheme and internship and I can’t fault the firm tbf. I enjoyed both and really liked the firm

(8)(1)

Andrew

People need to stop doing stuff like in the comments. Deliberately trying to provoke a debate and hurl insults at the firms and people there. It’s pathetic

I’ve seen it for every single firm. People hate MC firms, SC firms, US firms, International firms. Well which firms DO you actually like? You’re just doing it for the sake of being controversial.

Go join your debate society and spark discussions there instead

(24)(0)

Anon

They do it with every university too

(2)(0)

William

*says something disrespectful*

“No disrespect tho”

(0)(0)

Elliott

Beggars can’t be choosers. Easy to mock firms when you don’t have a TC and struggle to get vac schemes

(8)(0)

2PQE

When you actually qualify and start working you realise no one cares about titles of law firms.

You might be at a ‘top firm’ but struggle with career progression.

You might be at a not so prestige firm but have great career progression and climb the ranks quicker and move up roles and salary ranks and get to the same point.

You might have better work-life balance at one firm and not so much in another.

You might like the colleagues in one firm more than another and the type of people you work with.

There’s no straightforward answer and I wish people would realise this.

Also, I cannot emphasise enough that the difficult part is just getting the TC offer in the first place. Once you have qualified you can move laterally to other firms which is a lot more common now than it was before.

(34)(0)

Forever Associate

Generally agree.

Other than “are my colleagues complete psychopaths?” and “am I ever going to be allowed out of the office?” as primary concerns once qualified, another potentially big issue that might be tied to the ‘prestige’ of a firm is a fee earner’s charge out rate. Certain types of firms attract certain types of clients who are willing to pay certain level of fees. Higher charge out rates typically mean higher salaries and bonuses.

If your clients are insurers or SME/ mid-size businesses (i.e. I’d say less than £500m annual turnover), or individuals, you’re not going to get away with the £400+ an hour rates junior associates charge out at in the larger firms. For that to happen your clients need to be banks, funds, fortune 500 companies etc. and they typically only instruct certain firms.

But if you’re interested in disputes work and job security, probably better to be at a firm on a large number of insurer panels – lower rates but guaranteed work flow! Depends on the individual’s practice area and priorities.

(2)(1)

Serious

It is a good (solid) firm that will enable you to do seats in most practice areas that you can think of. You will therefore in principle have a wide array of options (assuming firm healthy, strong retention) for qualification and beyond.

The firm’s brand in London is strong enough to not rule you out from any lateral move on or shortly after qualification (save for maybe elite lit/arb) in most of those practice areas.

The wedge is average for a large City firm but that is not the most relevant thing as a prospective trainee. You would probably have a fun training contract with a mixed cohort from a variety of backgrounds.

(6)(0)

Aaron

What is wedge?

Sorry if I sound dim I really don’t know what you meant by that

(2)(3)

Stuck between the two

How is Hogan Lovells compared?

(0)(0)

Helpful Henry

Well, it would be compared with something else. That is how comparing works.

(2)(0)

DLA Pooper

Catch up DLA Piper, this was last year’s fad. Now it’s all about a BAME partnership.

(3)(4)

Yit

Wb your mum

(0)(0)

Sick and tired of all your constant whining

Honestly every comments section underneath a diversity article is so reminiscent of the Daily Fail. You lot are embarrassing, grow up ! None of you can seriously be lawyers? Not an ounce of critical thought anywhere.

(4)(3)

Harry Potter

Which magic circle firm is the best?

(1)(1)

Candidate

Do city firms just prefer taking women on as trainees? Genuine question… the stats speak for themselves.

(3)(1)

Candidate

Do city firms just prefer taking women on as trainees? Genuine question… the stats speak for themselves.

(2)(1)

Comments are closed.

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