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Herbert Smith Freehills has announced a new 35% gender target for the proportion of women in its global partnership, by 2023.

By 1 May 2023, women will comprise 35% of:

  • partners; and,
  • partner leadership roles.

In 2014 the firm led the way in the legal profession to publicly set international gender targets, within a specific timeframe.  In the five years since the firm set the targets, it has seen a 53% increase in the number of women in its partnership. As of 1 May 2019, the firm has 26% women in its global partnership and 23% women in partner leadership roles.

CEO Mark Rigotti said:

"I am very proud to say that the number of women in our partnership has increased from 81 to 124 in the five years since we set the original targets. The results show that we have had real success in highlighting and addressing the issue of gender diversity in our partnership pipeline and in the partnership, in a way which was not previously the case.

"As a firm we pride ourselves on being at the forefront of continuously pushing for better gender diversity. Targets should be aspirational and set to stretch and drive significant change. I believe our new higher target of 35% will do just that and keep the momentum going.

"Clients also demand to experience diverse partnerships, we are listening to this and making progress. We are working to create a workforce that demonstrates to all would-be lawyers and those rising up the ranks that there is no glass ceiling."

Global Head of Employment, Pensions and Incentives, and Chair of the firm’s Global Diversity and Inclusion Group, Alison Brown, said:

"In the last five years since we initially set targets I have seen a real step change in the way the firm has approached gender diversity. It has enabled us to examine everything we do and find ways to improve the initiatives already in place, to help us achieve better gender diversity.  It has also opened up the gender conversation to the wider firm and ensures everyone is taking ownership of the issue and striving for ways to achieve our targets, from across the whole business."