Women and the legal profession
Sir, – Elizabeth Fitzgerald argues that the profession of solicitor is rife with structural inequality and a dearth of success among women solicitors (“Men continue to dominate top ranks of legal profession”, Opinion & Analysis, March 8th). This is simply not the case. As the Law Society was proud to proclaim in 2015, the first legal profession in the world where the majority of practising members is female was the profession of solicitor in Ireland. Women now comprise 52 per cent of the profession.
Irish solicitors are leading the rise of women in the legal profession globally, not just in total numbers but also in representation at the most senior level. Elizabeth Fitzgerald reports that 33 per cent of partners in the six largest firms were women in February 2017. I can now report that in March 2018, this percentage has grown to 35 per cent. This percentage is almost twice that of the largest firms in England and Wales, where the representation of women partners is just 18 per cent.
That is not to say there is not more to do to promote equality at all levels of the profession. Change doesn’t happen overnight so members of the profession and the Law Society are actively supporting women to reach senior positions through mentoring and return to work programmes.
Women solicitors are not victims of a structural inequality. They are making their way to the top in record numbers through their own hard work, intelligence and service to their clients. And solicitors’ firms know that implementing policies of diversity and equality is not just the right thing to do. It is also good for their business, the profession and the public. – Yours, etc,
Director of Representation
and Member Services,
Law Society of Ireland,