As the profession marks 100 years since women were able to qualify as solicitors, a City firm has set up a training programme to help its female lawyers raise their media profile.

London-headquartered international firm Clyde & Co announced today that it hopes its training programme will encourage a 'greater gender balance in the firm's approach to marketing, business development and communications'. The firm says women represent, on average, less than 20% of the firm's spokespeople quoted in the press. It stresses that media spokespeople are chosen 'first and foremost' on their ability to speak about a topic.

Liz Jenkins

Jenkins: 'more reticent than men'

Liz Jenkins, a partner and member of the firm's global management board, said: 'It's my firm belief that women are sometimes more reticent than men to put themselves forward for profile raising and personal brand building opportunities. Our own experience and figures also suggest that. What we want to do with this programme is to challenge the status quo and provide all our lawyers, but especially our female lawyers, with training to help them develop the skills to promote their expertise and the business confidently and professionally.'

The programme will cover social media, camera interview techniques, presentation skills, writing for online and offline audiences, creating a personal brand and effective networking. The firm says the training will be available to men but will be 'particularly promoted' to women. It will also 'seek to involve female spokespersons in as many media interviews as possible' in the run up to International Women's Day on 8 March.

A quarter of Clyde & Co's 415 partners are female. In its 2017 gender pay gap report, the firm acknowledged it had 'more work to do to achieve greater gender balance at senior levels in the firm'.

2019 marks the centenary of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act, which enabled women to become solicitors, barristers, jurors and magistrates.