The next step in gender equality at law firms

Women graduates make up about 60% of the trainee intake at large London law firms, and have accounted for over half of the intake at these firms for over a decade. It's pretty shocking, then, that just 18% of these firms' partners are female. This article from The Guardian suggests that the imbalanced figures could be attributed to the antisocial hours City lawyers are required to work. Many regularly do 70-80 hour weeks. In order to attract and retain the most talented people, law firms have responded by introducing a range of part-time working initiatives. On the whole, however, these programs have not proved successful, with many lawyers believing that participation amounts to ‘career suicide’. Addleshaw Goddard and Clifford Chance have taken the next step, setting targets to increase female representation at partner level and fostering a culture where working fewer hours is more acceptable. But this approach is resisted by many of their rivals on the basis that it breaches ‘meritocratic principles’.

The next step in gender equality at law firms Mon, Nov 1, 2010