LONDON — Recently, Thomson Reuters launched its Transforming Women’s Leadership in the Law (TWLL) program, to help play a role in the industry to address the issues that impede women as they progress to the senior levels in their legal careers.
The program, which was unveiled at a launch event in central London, was attended by senior industry leaders, both male and female, from across the legal sector — all focused and unified in their ambition to drive greater gender diversity and inclusion within the legal profession.
Opening the launch event, Lucinda Case, Managing Director of Thomson Reuters’ Legal UK & Ireland Business, acknowledged that all in the room were likely aware of the near parity joining the legal profession, but that female numbers fall as their careers progress through the ranks.
Case noted that whilst the awareness of gender diversity issues has improved in recent years, women still find it challenging to progress into senior roles throughout their legal careers. The Solicitor Regulation Authority reports that women make up almost half of lawyers entering the legal profession in the UK — however, this trend is not representative at more senior levels. Overall only 33% of women achieve partner status. There is a greater difference for larger law firms of 50 or more partners — which have only 27% female partners. Smaller firms, with only two-to-five partners, have 35% female partners. As for the FTSE 100, it’s reported that there are only 22 female GCs. Of those called to The Bar, nearly 50% are women — yet just 25% of the judiciary is female.
“Considering that we will celebrate 100 years of women being able to practice law next year, the ongoing disparity between men and women leaders in law is somewhat surprising,” Case said. “Though, it’s fairly consistent with a lack of progress in the representation of women in executive positions across many industries.”
As the program’s sponsor, Case is an extremely passionate and long-time advocate of a diverse workforce — especially at the senior levels. Case expressed how pleased she was to launch the TWLL program as it is an opportunity for the Thomson Reuters’ UK & Ireland Legal Business to “provide a platform for debate and practical steps” to help organizations find ways turn the dial on gender inequality.
The TWLL program has formed a UK Advisory Board; and Case said “it has representatives from private practice, in-house and public sector” — to ensure there is representation from various perspectives in legal practice. Further, Case acknowledged, it was “not a conversation or a problem for women alone to address.” The TWLL program aims to be inclusive and give male advocates “a voice to share the great initiatives” they are championing to help increase diversity in their organizations.
Like its US counterpart, the UK & Ireland’s TWLL program will use events and content to further the discussion and identify actionable steps and interventions in order for more solutions to be implemented to remove structural barriers that could hinder women’s advancement.
You can read this full blog post at Thomson Reuters’ Legal Solutions UK & Ireland blog.