National law firm TLT has achieved 33% female partner representation two years ahead of its 2025 target.

The firm has cemented itself as a leader for women’s representation in senior positions, one third (33%) of partner roles have been held by women since the start of the financial year. The results demonstrate TLT’s steady progress in getting women leaders to the top of the firm. 

Since implementing its gender equality strategy in 2019 in collaboration with the firm’s Women’s Equality Network, TLT has significantly improved gender balance in its partner hiring and promotions, with women accounting for just over 50% of partner promotions and hires in the past three years – double what it was three years ago. Growth in this area has been achieved thanks to the firm’s efforts and determination to improve diversity across all levels of the business. It has also been successful thanks to the feedback and guidance from TLT’s Women Equality Network

This progress has, in part, been achieved as a result of TLT’s robust governance, which has seen the establishment of an internal taskforce that monitors progress in diversity. The taskforce is made up of head of real estate and future energy Maria Connolly, chief people officer Helen Hodgkinson and managing partner John Wood - all members of the executive board – senior partner Sasha Butterworth, partner and equality, diversity and inclusion (ED&I) champion Esther Smith and senior ED&I manager Lucy Norman-Wells. The taskforce reviews critical datasets relating to diversity and is responsible for implementing key decisions such as gender balanced shortlists and hiring panels.

The taskforce complements the steps the firm has taken elsewhere, including the introduction of several market-leading initiatives that offer support for critical life stages. These have been instrumental in helping drive improvements and include: 

  • A new enhanced menopause provision for employees.
  • A dedicated pregnancy loss policy, which sets out new paid absence provisions specifically for early-stage pregnancy loss.
  • A boost to the firm’s maternity and shared parental leave policy to offer enhanced pay as a day one provision and increasing the duration of both full and half pay
  • A ‘ramp up, ramp down’ programme for expectant and returning parents to support them during a critical transition period.
  • A market-leading paternity and non-birthing parent leave provision consisting of four weeks full pay to empower partners to be active caregivers through greater flexibility. 
  • A flexible working policy allowing colleagues to choose when and where to work. 

Helen Hodgkinson, chief people officer at TLT commented: Gender equality is a given for our firm; fixing the system and not our women has been a fundamental part of our success. Whilst our current position is promising and things are improving, we still have a way to go. We know it is still mostly women who take the predominant amount of caring responsibilities and, with women representing 70% of our business, this is a significant barrier to improving gender diversity in our top roles. We are tackling this head-on by introducing measures centred on parents and carers (as listed above), alongside our ground- breaking approach to new ways of working “TLT World” - all of which are already starting to show results. To date, 80% of paternity leavers have taken the full four weeks of leave. We’re proud to have achieved this milestone target ahead of schedule and will continue to look at ways to drive sustainable change in every part of our operations, including with our own people by making sure our senior positions are truly diverse and inclusive.” 

Esther Smith, inclusion champion and employment partner at TLT said: “Gender equality is one of my top priorities as the ED&I champion at TLT and I’m exceptionally proud that we have reached this milestone target in 2023. But the work doesn’t stop here. It’s imperative we keep the momentum going on ED&I and continue to diversify further to support both women and working parents, irrespective of gender. I look forward to continuing this important work at TLT, working closely with the Women’s Equality Network to support and empower our women to reach for the top.” 

Nina Searle, co-chair of TLT Women’s Equality Network commented: “On behalf of all our network members we are delighted to see that the female partner target has been achieved two years early and we look forward to working alongside the targets taskforce as we focus on the next steps on our journey to gender equality.” 

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Date published

20 June 2023


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