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Women in Leadership27 October 2020

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At Watson Farley & Williams you will find women in a number of key leadership roles, many of whom have received high profile recognition for their work.

In recognition of our work to improve gender balance at our firm, the Women in Law Empowerment Forum (WILEF) has awarded us their 2020 UK Gold Standard Certification.  This is the second time that we have received the certification, after being the first UK firm to receive the recognition in 2019.

Law firms with 100 or more practising lawyers in the United Kingdom are eligible for 2020 WILEF UK Gold Standard Certification if they successfully demonstrate that women represent a meaningful percentage of their equity partners, of their governance and compensation committees and of their most highly compensated partners.

Currently in London, 28% of our Equity Partners are women and in the last financial year 40% of new UK Equity Partners were women.  Women also make up a third of our Global Management Committee and we are proud that many of our offices, legal and sector groups are led by women.  This is something that is reflected in our most recent Gender Pay Gap report which found that we have a negative gender pay gap at Partnership level.

Globally, women make up the majority of fee-earning roles at all levels of post-qualification experience through to senior associate and we are pleased that we continue to develop a strong pipeline of female talent.  However, we recognise that there is still more to do to ensure we attract, retain and develop women to the most senior levels of our firm and through to the Partnership.

We have taken some concrete steps to help us achieve this, including re-engineering our Senior Associate and Partner promotion processes, providing coaching to maternity returners and offering all working parents at our firm access to workshops, practical support and resources through our relationship with City Parents.

We have also supported female talent throughout our firm to network and build new connections through a series of client and sector-focused activities including Women in Leadership and Women in Energy events in London, Women Furthering Women events in New York and Women in Shipping events in Athens.

Looking forward, we have committed to taking further steps through our Global Diversity & Inclusion strategy, including:

  • Identifying potential barriers to progression for diverse talent (including women) through regular data analysis at each stage of the employee life-cycle and introducing targeted initiatives to address these barriers where applicable.
  • Supporting our people navigate their careers and the firm through launching a Global Mentoring Programme, providing employees at all levels with a mentor.
  • Increasing cross-firm networking opportunities for women and other diverse groups.
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