Herbert Smith Freehills has vowed that it wants almost to double the number of female partners at the firm in the next five years.

Women currently make up 18% of the partnership globally. Herbies said last week that it wants this number bumped up to 25% by 2017, and to reach 30% by 2019. The firm’s Australian Managing Partner, Jason Ricketts, said that it was “the right thing to do” given that most graduates at the firm are female. 

  A firm being diverse yesterday

Unfortunately most of them seem to leave by the time they get to partner level. Firms across the board attracted criticism for their inability to solve the mystery of the disappearing women in RollOnFriday’s recent Firm of the Year survey. One lawyer at Herbies commented that the firm has very few “realistic” female role models, although it's clearly taking the issue seriously as it scored a resonable 76% for diversity.

Data from The Law Council of Australia’s National Report on attrition and re-engagement (or NARS) found that women face significant levels of discrimination in the legal profession. It surveyed 3,801 lawyers and found that 50% of all women surveyed had experienced discrimination due to their gender, compared to just 10% for men.

Ricketts told Lawyers Weekly that “it will be a challenge [for the firm] to meet these targets, but we should be able to do so”.

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