Law firms publish gender and ethnicity pay gap figures

updated on 29 March 2021

Clifford Chance and Irwin Mitchell are the latest firms to reveal their gender and ethnicity pay gap figures, with both reporting a decreased gap compared to previous years.

The employee gender pay gap at magic circle firm Clifford Chance fell to 19.1% (from 20% in 2020), while the overall gap, including partners, fell by more than 2% to 63.5%. The firm also reported that its overall ethnicity pay gap fell from 51.6% to 47.5%, while its LGBT pay gap is 5.5%.

Despite the data indicating that the firm is “moving in the right direction, this progress remains slower than we would like”, the firm’s UK regional managing partner Michael Bates said. He added: “We have more to do to realise our global inclusion strategy to change the rules, change the culture, change the lived experience.”

Female staff at national firm Irwin Mitchell are reportedly paid on average 9% less than men, falling from 10.3% the previous year, meaning the firm has narrowed its gender pay gap over four consecutive years. However, its ethnicity pay gap has widened by 5.9% to 8.2%. This figure is based on 74% of the firm’s staff who recorded their ethnicity, with 13% of those coming from ethnic minority backgrounds.

Elsewhere, Hogan Lovells reported an increased mean gender pay gap, with women paid on average more than 30% less than men – in 2019 the firm’s female staff were paid 18.7% less. The data was affected by lawyer bonuses, which were paid in April 2020, according to the firm: “Our bonus pay is impacted by several factors: a higher proportion of women perform senior non-fee earning roles and are therefore not eligible for chargeable hours bonuses, a significant proportion work part-time (one in five), and/or have taken a period of family leave. This results in pro-bonuses which influence our bonus gap.”

With partners excluded, the firm’s data revealed a difference of just 3.1%, while the overall figure, including partners, is 56% compared with the previous figure of 57.8%. Hogan Lovells also reported an ethnicity pay gap of 9.5%, which is consistent with 2019’s data.

Meanwhile, DLA Piper has revealed new global female partnership targets. By 2025 the firm is aiming for at least 30% of global partners to be female and is seeking to increase this by at least another 10% by 2030. The firm’s global female partnership is currently 21%.