International firm Norton Rose Fulbright has become the first of the City’s legal elite to disclose what the government’s mandatory gender pay gap looks like when equity partners are compared with the rest of the workforce.

When partners are included, the mean gap rises sharply from 17% to 49%.

The firm attributes this to the ’relatively low number of female partners at the senior end of the partnership’.

The firm said that although including partners is not a statutory requirement, it wanted to be ’open and transparent’.

The bonus pay gap, excluding partners, is 36% and rises to 61.4% when partners are included.

Across the workforce, and excluding partners, 27.2% of women received bonuses compared to 36.7% of men.

Norton Rose Fulbright

Norton Rose Fulbright

The figures come as vindication for senior City figures including Lloyds of London chief executive Inga Beale, who alleged that excluding equity partners provides a ‘carve-out’ for a highly-paid, mainly male group. The ‘big four’ accountancy firms - KPMG, PwC, EY and Deloitte - all subsequently updated their statistics to incorporate partner earnings.

Until now law firms have avoided publishing partner data on the grounds that they are not employees. Reed Smith and Mills & Reeve included details of their partner pay gap but did not provide a comparison with the entire workforce.

As has been a notable trend so far, the lower pay quartile at Norton Rose is predominantly occupied by women. In the lowest quartile 75% of the workforce are female.

A firm spokesperson said: ‘The majority of those roles are administrative and secretarial. If we were to extract the secretarial population from our data analysis, our mean pay gap reduces to 10.9%.’

Farmida Bi, the firm’s chair-elect, said: ’Diversity and inclusion is a central tenet of our people and business strategy. Although it is not a statutory requirement to report on partner data, we wanted to be open and transparent with our people. We have made good progress in our journey to achieving greater diversity in our workforce. This transparency will help us to continue our work in improving diversity across the business.’

Businesses with 250 employees or more are required under the Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017 to report specific figures about their gender pay gaps by 4 April.