There’s something different about some of the partner promotion announcements coming out of major law firms this year.
A number of firms are sharing lists of such promotion announcements that are majority female.
It’s a significant shift for an industry that’s long been dominated by women at the graduate level, but also long seen women drop out before reaching the partner ranks of major law firms.
The latest partner announcement to catch my attention is from global firm Ashurst, with seven out of the ten of their new Australian partners being female. It’s up there with the recent announcement from Herbert Smith Freehills appointing eight new female partners, that we reported on last month.
Ashurst has appointed 24 new partners internationally, including the ten in Australia.
Of the seven women appointed, two are working part time, including Catherine Pedler in Perth and Kathy Srdanovic in Sydney.
Fourteen of the 24 partners appointed globally are female, making the promotions round 58% female. Overall, 28% of partners in the Australian offices of Ashurst are now female, up from 24% this time last year.
There’s clearly still work to do, but a 4% shift is significant and in this case shows that publicised gender targets for women in leadership can help.
In 2014, the firm set a global target of seeing 40% of all new partner promotions.
Since then, they have struggled with hitting the mark, and have been scrutinised accordingly. But rather than removing the target as ‘too difficult’, they’ve kept at it.
Indeed, this latest round exceeds the target, as noted by managing partner Paul Jenkins. “We wanted to improve on our gender targets and whilst we have made progress, we remain very conscious of how much more needs to be done,” he said.
The new partners include:
- Emma Butler, Digital Economy, Melbourne
- Camilla Clemente, Restructuring and Special Situations, Sydney
- Stuart D’Aloisio, IP/Media, Melbourne
- Karen Dwyer, Digital Economy, Sydney
- Justin Jones, Competition, Melbourne
- Krista Payne, Projects, Sydney
- Catherine Pedler, Dispute Resolution, Perth
- Caroline Smart, Global Markets, Sydney
- Kathy Srdanovic, Employment, Sydney
- Sanjay Wavde, Tax, Sydney