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Law Society unveils results of male-only roundtables on gender imbalance

23 May 2019

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The Law Society has published findings from a series of men-only roundtables as part of its Women in Leadership in Law project.

The report follows the Society’s ’Influencing for Impact: The Need for Gender Equality in the Legal Profession’, report in March, which summarised the findings from the women’s roundtables.

Male leaders who took part in the roundtables between November 2018 and March 2019, included senior lawyers working in firms; in-house legal teams in a range of different sizes and types of businesses; and in the public sector. 

Participants acknowledged that women are under-represented in senior positions in the legal services sector and put forward practical solutions aimed at redressing this imbalance.

Among the recommendations for tackling gender imbalance raised to come out of the roundtables was compulsory unconscious bias training to include those in leadership positions and ensuring unconscious bias was removed from the hiring process.

The group also highlighted the need to ensure that networking opportunities were not male-dominated and that male attributes were not valued over other characteristics.  

Ensuring that supervisors and managers did not make assumptions about whether women with caring responsibilities were less able and willing to take on certain project was also highlighted. With such assumptions being identified as harmful to women’s prospects in the workplace. 

The roundtable participants advocated for conducting an appropriate and well-rounded assessment of the total contribution of women to the business, including considering the non-chargeable but important work connected with pro bono, client and practice development, corporate social responsibility and knowledge management.

Returners programmes were also recommended for both men and women that had been out of the profession for longer than three years, as was improving the retention of women in senior levels.

Incoming president of the Law Society, vice president Simon Davis said: “I am determined to continue implementing the programme on Women in Leadership in Law during my presidency once I take over from Christina in July 2019.”

The fill report can be accessed here.

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