Women in the UK dominate the law profession at entry level, however there are more men in senior positions in country’s top 50 firms, something that has been a problem for many years. This is reflected in all sectors and industries across Britain, as women continually struggle to make it to board level positions in business. Pay is also an issue, with men earning an average of 1.6% more than their female colleagues for doing the same job.
Although these statistics are disheartening, things are looking up for women in law. The inequality can’t be ignored and still requires reform, however these issues are prevalent in wider society and are matters that need to be addressed on a wider platform.
It’s all about focusing on the positives – there has never been a better time to be a woman contemplating a career in law. Firms up and down the UK are pushing gender parity. There are more female graduates now than ever who are keen and determined to succeed in a law career. Attitudes are shifting. It is no longer unusual to be a working woman focused on reaching the top. Of course, reaching board level positions is not easy, particularly as a woman who may be juggling family and children.
There must be a shift in the culture of business and how it treats women. In the meantime, young women entering the profession can set themselves up for a fantastic career by focusing on certain areas. For instance, networking is vital. The common phrase ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’ is relevant here. Investing and building connections with clients and colleagues internally and externally is important for any lawyer. Those in your network are the people who can help you throughout your career, so make them good people.
Becoming a specialist is also a route to take to the top. Industry specialists are in high demand and makes a person marketable. Moving from firm to firm shouldn’t be a problem with sought-after credentials. Make your CV as strong as possible and you’re sure to be in demand throughout your career.
To all the women in law who strive for the top, remember attitude is everything – be confident in your abilities. More women than ever are graduating in law, so now is time for women to shine. Don’t be put off by the large differences between men and women in high positions in the industry. It’s time to make a difference, and it starts today.