Squire Patton Boggs has announced its first set of gender goals – but remains significantly less ambitious than other international firms.

Under a new set of diversity targets, 20% of UK partners will be female within two years and 25% will be female by 2026. Women currently make up 17% of the UK partnership. European managing partner Jonathan Jones said ‘we are holding ourselves to account as we seek to develop a culture that is rich in diversity, inclusive and recognised as fair and transparent’.

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Global firm wants a fifth of UK partners to be women in next two years

However, the new targets are significantly lower than those of many City practices. Last month, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer pledged that women will occupy at least 40% of leadership roles by 2023. Just under a quarter of current UK partners are currently female, according to the firm’s 2020 pay gap report.

Meanwhile, Ashurst aims for 33% of its global partnership to be female by 2022 (it currently stands at 24%) and Clifford Chance has pledged that 40% of global partners should be women by 2030, apart from in the Middle East, which has a separate target of 25%.

European managing partner of Squire Patton Boggs Jonathan Jones said: ‘The global pandemic has crystallised the need for action now. Acknowledging its legacy will likely be hardest felt by women and minorities, we have intensified our focus on the recruitment, retention and advancement of female employees and ethnic minorities as a priority. This is part of a comprehensive and carefully considered plan, setting measurable targets and goals to ensure that inclusion and diversity is embedded in the culture of our firm and reflective of the society in which we operate.’

The firm also aims to achieve 16% ethnic minority representation across the firm within two years and 19% by 2026.