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Thomson Reuters
Client Relations

New report: ‘male clients pick male lawyers’

26 Jan 2018

A new report by global market research firm, Acritas, has highlighted a ‘gender disparity’ across the legal industry, after thousands of in-house counsels across the globe were asked to nominate their stand-out lawyers.

The research, which was undertaken over the past three years, involved surveying over 4,300 senior in-house counsels asking them to nominate ‘Star Lawyers’ they had dealt with in the previous year. As a result, 10,000 independent nominations of stand-out lawyers were cast from law firm clients all over the world.

However, the report, Acritas Stars, found that male clients, in comparison with female clients, were half as likely to nominate a female ‘Star Lawyer.’

Lisa Hart Shepherd, CEO of Acritas, added: “Only 15 percent of male-nominated Stars were women. This compared with 29 percent of female nominated Stars being women – almost twice the level,” she said. “The effect of this bias is multiplied when you consider four out of five senior in-house counsel are male, it is therefore easy to see why female partners find it hard to get equity partnerships in law firms.”

The Star Lawyer nominations were collected as part of a broader research study of senior in-house counsel − Acritas’ global Sharplegal study. The research has revealed the huge impact Star Lawyers make on a variety of performance metrics, but also revealed an existent ‘gender disparity’.

Acritas, who subsequently undertook an analysis of the nominee data, discovered that the quality of expertise was the number one star quality for both genders in equal measure. However, female Stars on average had a higher number of qualities mentioned in their nominations, and were significantly more recognised for being responsive, approachable, professional and diligent.

Hart Shepherd said: “The gender gap at equity partner level will only see material change if clients use their buyer muscle to give female lawyers in private practice more power. Money still talks in law firms and those who bring in the business are the ones who rise to the top.”

To read Acritas’ full report, click here.

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