The Leaky Pipeline: Gender and progression in the legal profession

Cogence, specialists in legal recruitment, have published a report on gender and progression in the legal profession. ‘The Leaky Pipeline’ aims to establish why, with an equal percentage of male and female candidates entering the legal profession, so few women make it to equity partnership. Over 500 London lawyers gave their views.

Key findings from the report include:

Not enough female role models

80% of females stated that there are not enough female role models in the profession compared to 56% of men. Would more high profile women in the profession encourage women to go for partnership? This is not exclusive to the legal profession though. A recent report in the FT highlights that women account for just 23.5% of the FTSE 100 board, but only 8.9% of executive positions.

An unconscious Bias

72% of men believe their workplace does enough to support equality. However, only 32% of women agree with this. Similarly, 78% of female associates believe there are gender barriers to their career progression but only 30% of males agree with this.


A staggering 84% of female lawyers believe that having children will adversely affect their career. Would more role models or flexible working options help to diminish this view?

What do you think needs to be done to encourage more female partners? Have you felt this gender bias in your career? 

Read the full report from Cogence.

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