The proportion of women becoming partners at British law firms has topped 50 per cent for the first time, according to an influential ranking of the UK’s legal industry.
Almost 52 per cent of newly-ranked lawyers attaining partner level over the past year were female, according to legal ranking firm Chambers’ annual report on the industry.
The figure represents an eight per cent jump in the proportion of women making partner compared to the previous year. Chambers’ 2021 rankings also show a six per cent increase in total new rankings for female lawyers, which hit 47.74 per cent.
“This year’s rankings paint a brighter picture for the future of diversity in the industry so long as the firm can retain this diverse talent,” said Chambers chief executive Tim Noble.
Overall, the proportion of women featured in the 2021 guide increased two per cent 32.37 per cent, with men still making up 67.63 per cent of ranked lawyers – a gap Chambers said “leaves much to be desired”.
The statistics for barristers show slow progress for gender equality at the Bar. Just 26 per cent of those featured in Chambers’ 2021 Bar Guide were women – a two per cent increase on the previous year.
Of the top 100 up-and-coming barristers featured in the guide, 47 per cent were women, marking a significant increase on 2020’s 30 per cent.
The new report also found that London’s status as a hub for commercial litigation showed no sign of slowing despite the upheaval caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit.
London law firms took on a significant amount of work for clients based in Russia or the Commonwealth of Independent States area, while they also maintained a strong market share in European jurisdictions and the Middle East, and Africa.