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Surprise as Glamour magazine rates Freshfields "Most Female-Friendly"
11 November 2011
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Leading glossy, Glamour magazine, took a break this month from its usual fare of clothes, celebrities, and clothes worn by celebrities to probe the thorny issue of gender imbalance in the workplace.

The magazine plugged Freshfields as the firm which is the most female-friendly in the law in an article entitled "Bosses who love women" (presumably in the platonic sense). Apparently this is because the firm has "a gym, doctor and restaurant". Much like other very big City law firms. And because "the firm is working to close the gap between the number of male and female trainees". Err, it already takes on more women than men, along with pretty much every other firm. And "while you need a degree to get onto the scheme, it doesn't have to be in law". Again, that would be like every other firm in the City.

    A woman prospering at Freshfields yesterday

However, while over half its trainee intake is female, women only comprise 12.5% of Freshfields' partnership. That's low even for the Magic Circle, which has a depressingly poor average of 15%. And very, very low when compared with smaller City firms. Compare that with the likes of MTG, the private client firm spun out of Allen & Overy, which had so many senior female lawyers its partnership deed was drafted in the feminine... Still, at least the firm is trying to change things, most recently with a mentoring scheme for senior female associates.

A spokesman for Freshfields said that "we're pleased to receive recognition for our efforts to make the firm a better place for women to work. We recognise that we need to do more to improve our number of women partners. That is why are working hard to tackle the perceived barriers to women reaching partner positions. We regard this as a business imperative and are confident that this work will, in time, deliver a real improvement."



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