Slaughter and May has bowed to pressure to report the gap in earnings between male and female partners, making it the last magic circle firm to provide the data along with its statutory return. 

Figures published by the firm show a pay gap of 63.6% for partners and employees compared with a 14.4% gap when partners are excluded. Last year the pay gap with partners included was 61.8%. The firm is known for keeping details of partners' earnings private.

During the last reporting round the firm was roundly criticised and accused of a failure to be open and transparent by members of the House of Commons’ Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee. Like many firms reporting under the Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations, it initially declined to incorporate equity partners on the grounds that they are not employees. It subsequently revealed its partner data following a request from MPs.

Most firms have now decided to include partners in their statutory reports for 2018.

In keeping with another trend this year, Slaughter and May has also published an ethnicity pay gap. Among all staff (including partners) who identify as black, asian or minority ethnic (BAME) the pay gap is 51.1%.

Slaughter and May executive partner, Paul Stacey said: ‘We are working hard to maintain and enhance an inclusive culture at the firm, including leading from the top, and continue to look at ways to address our gender pay gap, recognising that it will take time for some of these benefits to come through.’

On the ethnicity pay gap, he added: ‘We see this as an important step in opening up conversations about race in the workplace and working towards businesses reflecting society at large.’

Another magic circle firm, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, also reported its 2018 pay gap data yesterday. The mean pay gap is now 57.6% with partners included, down from 60.4% in 2017. Excluding partners, the mean pay gap is 5.7%, down from 13.9% in 2017.

Elsewhere, national firm Irwin Mitchell said its mean gender pay gap is 12.8%, unchanged from last year.