Top law firms could come under new pressure to promote women to senior posts if a government-backed review of equality in business reports as expected. 

The Davies Review, which was originally set up to increase the number of women on boards, is due to publish a report in October which will recommend women make at least a quarter of executive posts at FTSE 100 companies.

According to a report by the Davies Review published in March, British businesses were on track to achieving a 25% target for the number of women on FTSE 100 boards by the end of the year.

However, women accounted for 8.6% of executive directors, 3% of chairmen and 5% of chief executives.

Lord Davies of Abersoch (pictured) said: ‘Boards are getting fixed, now we have to fix the low number of women chairs and executive directors on boards and the loss of talented, senior women from the executive pipeline.’

Law Society chief executive Catherine Dixon said women were still under-represented at the top of the legal profession even though more women than men joined the sector last year.

'Through our Diversity and Inclusion Charter, we work closely with law firms to share good practice, and to demonstrate that good diversity and inclusion policies actually give a competitive advantage,' Dixon said.

News of the report follows Law Society of Scotland research showing that female solicitors are effectively working for free from 31 July until the end of the year due to a 42% gender pay gap among its members.

Janet Hood, convener of the Law Society of Scotland's equality and diversity committee, said the legal profession had seen little change in the past decade compared to other professions such as accountancy or dentistry.

‘Quite simply, it is not something we can afford to ignore, for either ethical or business reasons. Many government and other organisations sourcing legal services also include equality criteria as part of their tendering processes. If law firms are not taking steps to ensure that they are meeting these, they could be adversely affected.’