Following the Workplace Gender Equality Agency ramping up its reporting requirements, there is now more public information about a wider range of law firms, the gender composition of their workforces, and their diversity and inclusion practices.
The Women Lawyers’ Association of NSW (WLANSW) has taken this as an opportunity to compile a data set of 40 law firms, which was launched last night at an event held at Ashurst's Sydney offices.
WLANSW’s analysis of the available information revealed that the legal profession is moving slowly towards gender equality, with some work still to be done.
When the 40 law firms are ranked on percentage of partners that are female, the top five are TressCox (41.7 per cent), Squire Patton Boggs (35 per cent), Lander & Rogers (34.2 per cent), Griffith Hack (33.3 per cent) and Maddocks (31.4 per cent).
When looking at the percentage of equity partners that are female, the top five firms are Gilbert + Tobin (33.9 per cent), Hall & Wilcox (28.6 per cent), King & Wood Mallesons (26.17 per cent), Corrs Chambers Westgarth (25.2 per cent) and TressCox (25 per cent).
In contrast, the proportion of senior associates who are female is high, with many firms recording more than 50 per cent.
According to WLANSW, the challenge is in converting senior associates to partners, particularly equity partners, and creating career frameworks that are not necessarily linear, but genuinely value different levels of contribution and seniority.
The data also looks at flexible working, with analysis showing that the percentage of partners working flexibly is on the rise.
The percentage of men taking parental leave is also increasing slowly; however, law firm culture is still holding many back from accessing the parental leave policies available to them, according to WLANSW.