Magic circle firms release gender pay gap reports

Two magic circle firms have broken ranks with their peers to include partners in their gender pay gap reporting.

All companies with over 250 employees have had to release information on the differences in pay between men and women employees, with most waiting until the last minute to submit their reports on the 4 April deadline. Many law firms have been criticised for excluding partners from their pay gap reporting on the grounds that equity partners are not salaried employees, but in recent weeks magic circle firms Clifford Chance and Linklaters have bucked the trend.

As Legal Week reports, the data for all Clifford Chance employees including partners shows that men at the firm are paid on average 66% more than women, while the partnership on its own has a 27% pay gap in favour of men. Among associates, the level at which women and men can be found in approximately equal numbers across the profession, the pay gap was much smaller, with men paid on average 4% more than women. Clifford Chance’s report shows that there is inequality at all levels, but that it becomes increasingly pronounced in the more senior and powerful echelons of law firms, which remain male-dominated.

The firm said it had included partners in its reporting because it wants to “accelerate change”, adding its hope “that other law firms will take an equally transparent approach, and we expect their figures to show a similar gap when partners are included”.

Linklaters bowed to pressure at the end of last month after being the first magic circle firm to release its gender pay gap report, which omitted partners. The firm’s revised figures show that the average male employee is paid 60% more than the average female employee. When partners are omitted, the pay gap reduces to 23%. And among partners, the pay gap is smaller, with men paid on average 2.2% more than women.

A statement from Linklaters said: “We appreciate the need to be as transparent as possible. Ensuring gender equality and achieving gender balance is a global strategic priority. It is embedded in our strategy and reinforced by our gender targets, which this year we exceeded, in appointing 37% new female partners. We will work hard to keep up the momentum on achieving this, and our other diversity goals.”

Fellow magic circle firms Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Slaughter and May have refused to include partners in their gender pay gap data.

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