The results of the Law Firm Comparison project released this week reveal that while many firms have managed to improve their partner percentage from previous years, the legal industry has a long way to go.
Undertaken by the Women Lawyers Association of NSW, the results found that the proportion of female senior associates remains high, and in many cases sits around the 50 per cent mark.
“The results in regard to Senior Associates are encouraging. There remains much to be done to improve the figures for partnership and particularly equity partnership,” Larissa Andelman, chair of the Workplace Practices Committee of Women Lawyers told Australasian Lawyer.
“There needs to be a re-think and a reconfiguration of workplaces so that the system of work recognises that both men and women have caring responsibilities and equally require the workplace to be flexible and adaptable.”
But the challenge in converting this to partnership numbers remains, the report said.
, Gilbert + Tobin, Holding Redlich
, Hall & Wilcox and King & Wood Mallesons all stood out as exceeding the female partner average (in both total partnership and equity partnership categories). Ashurst
followed closely behind, only just missing out on the general partner mark but achieving the equity partnership average.
The report found that firms are still finding “creating career frameworks that are not necessarily linear, but genuinely value different levels of contribution and seniority” hard to achieve.
Working flexibly was surveyed, the report noting that with a number of firms focussing on such initiatives, potential changes in future reports are anticipated.
“The challenge is to redesign the work model and recognise that flexibility is a mainstream issue and not a benefit only available for employees with caring responsibilities,” the report said, stating that the number of men taking parental leave is encouraging.