Survey reveals top law firms struggling for gender equality

The UK’S top 100 law firms suffered a collective dip in turnover last year, during a challenging period for the legal sector, according to a new survey.

The survey also found that many big law firms are struggling to achieve gender equality at the highest levels. Just 19 per cent of equity partners in the top 100 law firms are female.

The research from Legal Business magazine found that the UK’s top 100 law firms in 2016 have a combined turnover of £20.19bn, a fall of 2 per cent on the £20.64bn reported in 2015.

The top 100 firms employ 62,214 people, a fall of three per cent on 2015, when they employed 64,024 people.

However, the fall in combined revenues follows the removal of two of the larger, international firms – Dentons and Squire Patton Boggs – from the list because their centres of gravity have moved away from the UK.

DLA Piper, which has large offices in Leeds and Sheffield, remains the UK’s largest firm by revenue, posting a four per cent increase in turnover to £1,586m. Eleven firms in the top 100 have average profits per equity partner of £1m or higher.

Slaughter and May’s partners remain the highest earners – with its top earners taking home more than £3m.

The average profits per equity partner across the 100 rose by 5 per cent to £699,000, giving full-share partners a £32,000 pay rise.

Mark McAteer, the Legal Business managing editor, said: “2016 has been a challenging year for the UK legal professional.”

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