Helen Grant MP is minister both for justice, and women and equalities. Who better then to have a word with the magic circle about their latest partner round. As we report today, only 13 of 73 appointments are women, less than 20%, an even smaller proportion than last time. Even the House of Commons is doing better than that, though not by much – 22% of MPs elected in 2010 were female.

With their slick PR and marketing teams, the biggest firms talk the talk when it comes to showcasing their credibility as responsible corporate citizens. And often with good reason. They can boast an impressive commitment to pro bono work, for example, and have trailblazed in areas such as access to the law for the materially disadvantaged (David Morley at Allen & Overy is a shining example in this regard).

But the elite quintet clearly have a great deal more to do on getting women over the ‘cattle grid’ to partnership. Calls for quotas will only grow while their record on gender equality at the top table remains so poor.

Grant does not like quotas. A future equalities minister might not need much persuading on these numbers.