Law firms need to examine why women’s talents are ‘woefully underused’ in the profession, according to the former president of the Law Society.
Lucy Scott-Moncrieff, chair of the Society’s equality and diversity committee, said that 90 years after Carrie Morrison became the first female solicitor, women now comprise half the profession but are still not making it to partner status in equal numbers to men.
According to the Society’s 2012 statistical review, of 30,289 partners in private practice, 73% (22,199) are men and only 27% (8,090) women.
Speaking ahead of International Women’s Day on Saturday, Scott-Moncrieff (pictured) said the profession must look past the statistics and establish why women are not doing as well as their male colleagues.
While the position of women solicitors has improved since 1922, gender inequality remains a ‘pressing issue’, she added.
‘When you have a profession where the majority of partners - the very top of the tree - are men, then something is going wrong. Women’s talents are woefully underused in the legal profession. It makes no economic or business sense, particularly when times are hard,’ she said.
Scott-Moncrieff highlighted the economic benefit of gender equality, stating that companies with a good gender balance consistently outperform those that do not. Figures from the Women’s Business Council estimate that fairer treatment for women in the workplace could add over £150bn to GDP by 2030.
To mark International Women’s Day, the Law Society is hosting a speed networking event in partnership with networking group We are the City on Monday 10 March.
The event is intended to bring women solicitors in the earlier stages of their careers in City law firms together with senior women working in corporate departments and City firms.