- 50% of firm's partners are female ─ the highest proportion of any Australian law firm of size
- Milestone reflects focus on inclusive leadership, flexibility, talent and pay equity
Lander & Rogers has marked a significant milestone, with women now making up 50% of its partnership.
For a firm that has long been established as one of Australia's most gender-diverse, the achievement represents "an important step in the firm's commitment to gender equality, and showcases the collective ability to build an environment where everyone regardless of gender has an equal opportunity to contribute, develop and thrive," said Chief Executive Partner Genevieve Collins, who was appointed as the firm's first female CEP in 2018.
While female solicitors currently make up 55% of all solicitors in Australia, and 50% of lawyers working in private practice are female, women have traditionally faced systemic and structural challenges in progressing to partner level. The Australian Financial Review's July 2023 partnership survey reported that on average, women make up just 33.5 per cent of partners at Australia's 50 largest law firms.
To redress this balance and achieve gender parity in its partnership, Lander & Rogers implemented targeted initiatives with a focus on four key areas: flexibility, talent, pay equity and inclusive leadership.
"In these four areas we pinpointed the most significant opportunities to foster gender diversity at all levels of the firm, and identified where we could make the most tangible impact," said Ms Collins. For example, the firm operates a fully hybrid and flexible work policy, with no days or number of days in the office mandated, to allow individuals to balance their personal and professional responsibilities. Recent partner promotees ─ two of whom work part-time ─ have said the arrangement allows them to design their day around work and personal commitments, offering space and flexibility alongside rewarding and challenging work.
To ensure a strong pipeline of diverse talent, since 2019 Lander & Rogers has implemented a framework for reviewing talent processes from recruitment through to promotions, and established dedicated programs for mentoring and leadership development. The success of this approach can be seen in the firm's executive leadership and its partnership ─ as well as a female Chief Executive Partner, Lander & Rogers has a female Chair of Board; female Chair of Partners; a gender-balanced C-suite, and four out of eight practice groups led or co-led by women.
In 2019, to promote pay equity, Lander & Rogers removed pay secrecy clauses from its employment contracts ─ long before this requirement was mandated by the Australian government ─ and the firm conducts rigorous annual pay gap analyses to identify and address pay disparities.
Lander & Rogers' commitment to diversity in its workforce is supported by a range of policies to empower its people to succeed. The firm offers a gender-neutral parental leave policy of 26 weeks of paid leave, accessible within 18 months of birth or adoption. The firm also pays superannuation on unpaid parental leave, to minimise the pay gap experienced primarily by mothers who take more time out from the workforce.
The firm has also taken action against gender-based harassment and discrimination ─ identified by a number of legal bodies in recent years as pervasive in the legal sector ─ and implemented an industry-leading no-bystanders policy on sexual harassment, and complementary policy on personal relationships in the workplace where a real or perceived conflict may occur. "Diverse workforces can only thrive in safe and inclusive workplaces," explained Ms Collins.
Speaking of the achievement, Ms Collins said: "Our milestone strengthens our firm as a fair and equitable workplace, while allowing us to continue to provide our clients with diverse perspectives and experiences."