Transparency is key to meaningful gender pay gap reporting

Data about disability, ethnicity and sexuality as well as gender will help law firms develop comprehensive equality action plans, the Law Society of England and Wales said as it published forward-looking recommendations for pay gap reporting in the legal sector.

“Law firms can get ahead of the curve by assessing and tackling the range of pay gaps that may exist in their organisation,” Law Society president Christina Blacklaws said.

“Inequalities can be compounded by the intersection of protected characteristics like gender and ethnicity, so identifying these dynamics will help firms to create far more effective and sustainable equality action plans.

“We have worked with the profession to develop a common set of standards that provide the level of transparency expected by firms’ clients, people and the public.”

The Law Society supports the inclusion of partner pay alongside employee pay data in gender pay gap reporting to give solicitor firms a useful benchmark and enable an evidence-based action plan to tackle inequalities.

Partner pay is structured differently from salaries, so alongside best practice guidance we further recommend firms:

  • distinguish between equity and non-equity partners
  • publish a full time equivalent (FTE) total compensation gap based on a full financial year
  • report any equivalent partner bonus scheme that can be compared with the employee bonus scheme
  • calculate based on the same weekly working hours for partners as for employees

“We will continue to work with government and other professional and business services so that approaches to partner pay are comparable across firms and industries,” Christina Blacklaws added.

Notes to editors

Read the Law Society's gender pay gap reporting recommendations 

About the Law Society

The Law Society is the independent professional body that works globally to support and represent solicitors, promoting the highest professional standards, the public interest and the rule of law.

Press office contact: Harriet Beaumont | harriet.beaumont@lawsociety.org.uk | 020 8049 3854