Freshfields narrows gender pay gap

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Magic circle player also publishes ethnicity data and, for the first time, disability and LGBT+ results

Magic circle outfit Freshfields has narrowed its overall gender pay gap by almost three percentage points, according to its latest report.

The firm’s 2020 mean overall gender pay gap comes out at 54.5%, down slightly from 57.2% on the previous year. Looking at just UK partners, the gender pay gap decreased from 10.4% in 2019 to 2.4% in 2020. It’s mean gender pay gap for employees now sits at -1.1% in favour of women.

Freshfields recorded a drop in its overall ethnicity pay gap, too, from 66.4% to 59.5%. The firm said 21% of its UK partners and employees identified as BAME (Black, Asian or minority ethnic) in 2020.

The firm also posted its disability and LGBT+ pay gaps for the first time, posting mean gaps of 65.4% and 49.4% respectively.

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Claire Wills, London managing partner at Freshfields, commented: “It is encouraging that we continue to reduce our gender and ethnicity pay gaps, however, as long as pay gaps remain we know there is more work to do. We remain committed to improving inclusion across the firm and our various initiatives, programmes and networks that champion diversity and inclusion all contribute towards closing the pay gaps and ensuring Freshfields is a place where everyone feels they belong.”

She added: “Our new diversity and inclusion commitments and targets will be an important marker of success over the coming years, helping us to drive real change and accelerate our progress.”

Elsewhere, Eversheds Sutherland‘s overall pay gap remains relatively unchanged at 57.6%, while its pay gap result for employees only dropped from 20.2% to 19.1%. Its overall ethnicity result is up from 33.7% to 39.3%.

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came here to say the same thing

Legal Cheek writers aren’t even good at ripping off stories.


Very nice, now let’s start looking at narrowing the BAME pay gap. There is no political power without economic power.


Victim mode at work again. Thank god the government can now start ignoring this sort of bleating.

Democratic reform would fix a lot of this country's problems

Don’t be ridiculous. This is a government that deported legal Commonwealth citizens for being black, with Boris Johnson as Prime Minister there was never a chance that they’d act on the existence of institutional racism. It’d mean taking action against themselves.


You cannot reason with people this stupid and blinkered.


No-one was deported for “being black”


The pay gap isn’t to do with gender, but to people being paid different rates for different jobs.

In the interests of diversity, what was the gender make up of new trainees?



Because historically fewer women have progressed into the highest paying jobs (family pressures, maternity etc, old boys’ club).

And that is an issue we should be addressing.


But the ‘gender pay gap’ does nothing to address this.

Also, not all reasons for women not progressing into senior roles is to do with sexism – many woman choose to leave careers after marrying a rich man, etc. – this is rarely talked about but it does happen.


Exactly. And that really skews meaningless data like the gender pay gap because it takes women out of the jobs that pay 10 or 20 or more multiples of the average.


Agreed – the ‘gender pay gap’ data is meaningless and although there is a lack of women in the most senior roles, much of that isn’t due to sexism. Most companies are falling over themselves to appoint women to senior positions.

Already Addressed

60% of lawyers are women. Most big city law firms have about 35%-45% female partners. Give it a few years and women will likely be overrepresented at the most senior levels. Not sure what else you would like the industry to do.


Yes, funny how ‘diversity’ never addresses thd lack of males joining the profession. And it’ll be interesting to see if champions of ‘diversity’ are still as interested in diversity when the majority of partners are female (which will happen).


We said that in Australia when I graduated, 30 years ago. Still hasn’t happened.


If 21% identify as BAME, that means the non-BAME population is underrepresented at Freshfields. Wonder if efforts will be made to correct that position?


Nothing. Working class white kids will lose out again.


when working class white kids miss out on opportunities or fall behind it’s because of the white middle and upper class.

The system has got white working class kids angry at fellow BAME working class kids thinking that they’re taking their opportunities when that isn’t the case. It’s a crabs in the bucket mentality. It’s the “you’re stealing my jobs and opportunities you immigrant” mentality.

When in reality, the % of BAME working class kids is just as bad as the white working class.

If law firms and other companies are not taking on as many white working class students, that’s the fault of the COMPANY – it’s not the fault of the few BAME working class kids who manage to break into the elite and defy the odds.

The problem is the working class of all races are blaming each other thinking the other working class person took their spot, when in fact the recruiters and the firms and people on top who aren’t making enough spaces so that there are spots for more working class WHITE and BAME kids.

Say there are 25 spaces, 20 of them will be white middle/upper class kids. The other 5 will be white and BAME working class. The 5 will keep looking at each other as if it’s a competition to get into those few spots in the first place and will have an agenda against one another when they should be united in the issue and realise all 5 are victims of the system.


Or, buddy, you can stop trying to get bonus points for being BAME and treat working class applicants together rather than treating them differently by ethnicity. Then all the bollocks in your post falls away.


Clearly maths isn’t your thing.

If 21% are BAME, then the majority are WHITE!!!

A whopping 79% is white and you think that is underrepresented?

You must be trolling loooool no one can really be THAT dumb


Harry – idiot or troll. I’m going troll. I can’t imagine anyone is really that thick.


As 86% of the population identified as being white at the last census, anything less than 86% of partners/employees being white would statistically be an underrepresentation. Nothing wrong with my maths.


I like how they’ve removed the thumbs up thumbs down button. Now the spammers have to find something else to fill the void in their lives

Woop woop the feelings police are here

Did LC actually get rid of the up-vote and down-vote option on comments? I have seething hatred towards internet trolls, but even I think that is some extremely lame snowflake nonsense. How else can we let “Doxbridge really is a thing” posters know their opinion is as worthless as they are?

Grow a pair, Tommy boy.


Why are you calling out the author of this article???

They are just a writer and don’t control the decisions on whether or not to add the thumbs up thumbs down feature. If you look on all the other articles it’s been removed on everything, not specifically this article.


Oh no poor you!!!

Looks like you have to find something else to do with your time than spend hours spamming the like and dislike button to get your ratio which in the real world means absolutely nothing.

Get a grip and grow up.

People seriously need to get a like jheez as if they’re angry over the like button being taken away looool


If you’re annoyed by the like feature being disabled then you seriously need to re-evaluate your life and priorities and that goes for any other person reading who is also angry about a like/dislike button being removed lmao

Oh dear

Wool woop – so it’s you who’s been spamming the like and dislike buttons recently? On every article the comments have blatantly been altered in this way to suit an agenda. Of course you’d now comment that they’ve been removed. You need a hobby.


Why are the comments filled with students trying to rubbish other universities? I’ve been qualified for a while now and 90% of my colleagues don’t know where I went to university. If someone told me they studied at Durham, my response would be, “alright?” If someone told me they studied at Oxford, my response would be, “okay?” If someone told me they studied at Southampton Solent, my response would be, “cool?” In other words, grow up and forget about where people went to university, it’s irrelevant. You’re never going to get a TC with this infantile mindset.

Some nobody high st solicitor

It’s cool when you go to a small university and someone went to the same one though, nice little icebreaker


I don’t think he’s saying that it isn’t, but I totally agree. It is nice and even really cool to meet someone who effectively lived a similar experience.


If this get through. We all know that the thumbs up thumbs down function is a sign to things to come. Perhaps, Legal Cheek’s days are done for. This pandemic has been hard on us all.


where’s my upvote 🙁


I wonder how many snowflakes complained to LC before they finally decided to remove the thumbs up/thumbs down function lol


As previous Legal Cheek articles have pointed out, law firms’ pay gaps – both on ethnicity and gender – have stayed largely the same year on year. There are a couple of notable exceptions but that’s the general trend. For some firms, the difference is literally less than 1% year on year.

I wonder if and when we will see any changes, and which direction they will take (some of the pay gaps have gotten worse).


You’d have to bring average pay more in line with ceo/highest paid earners to cut the ‘gender pay gap’ – the gap isn’t to do with gender but with different people being paid different amounts for doing different jobs.


There is nothing that needs changing other than abandoning the nonsense that is the need to report the meaningless “gender pay gap” data.


They were saying that due to the BAME population making up 13.8 % of the UK population, which is in accordance with the government stats, that 21% is thus over representation of the BAME population group and under representation of the 86.2% non-BAME population… But none of that should mean anything, the best person for the job should get it regardless of race or gender and these stats shouldn’t be something that creates all the controversy.

Fact check

London has a 59% non-BAME population, so that’s a 20% over-representation of white people.


These woke lot really do think that is a point! Shows it is time we just stopped giving platforms to their nonsense. It is a national job market when it comes to City recruitment.

Fact Checked

I did not know they only employed people from London.

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