Top law firms’ partner promotions show incremental progress on gender equality

updated on 16 April 2021

Magic circle law firms Allen & Overy, Freshfields and Linklaters have announced their partner promotions for 2021, with some positive signs that the firms are working to rebalance their male-dominated partnerships.

Allen & Overy promoted 30 partners globally, including 10 women. Meanwhile, Linklaters exceeded its previous gender target of ensuring that women make up at least 30% of promotions, with women making up 40% of this year’s bumper new partner cohort.

Freshfields awarded a higher proportion of promotions to women than any other magic circle firm, with women making up 50% of the firm’s 22 new partners worldwide. The firm’s gender pay gap has now reversed, with women staff earning an average 1.1% more than men, not including partners. However, with both partners and employees included, the gender pay gap stands at 54.5%, a fall of 2.7% on 2019.

Fellow City firm Eversheds Sutherland has also published its overall gender pay gap, which has changed little from last year at 57.6%.