Women in the Law

BigLaw Firm in UK Tries New Tactic to Improve Women Leadership Numbers: 25% Quota

Women currently hold about 14 percent of the management positions at the Ashurst law firm in the United Kingdom.

The firm hopes to improve those numbers by adopting a target: In three years, the firm aims to fill 25 percent of its management posts with women, Legal Week reports. The story says Ashurst is the first leading U.K. law firm to adopt a quota for women in management.

The target does not apply to partnership promotions. Nor does it apply to management groups on a smaller scale. For example, practice group leadership spots would not have to be filled by 25 percent women; instead the target applies to management positions grouped together.

Senior partner Charlie Geffen told Legal Week why the firm set the goal. “It is my perception that change will not come about unless firms go some way to implementing targets and performance indicators for tackling diversity,” he said.

The publication spoke to a female partner with a different opinion. She expressed concern that the quota would “generate ill-feeling” and said she would prefer to “remove the barriers” that stop some people from succeeding.

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