Skip to content

Striving for a better gender balance

For gender equality, there can be no glass ceiling. We are determined to achieve a better gender balance at all levels of our organisation, and are working hard to make sure that all of our people have the same opportunities to realise their ambitions.

From recruiting and retaining talented women, to supporting them through every stage of their careers to realise their ambition, we are resolute.

We’ve achieved a great deal, but there is still more to do.

Every part of this approach comes packaged with accountability. We have a range of targets and we use data to ensure that decision makers know how they are performing.  In addition, our senior partner conducts biannual reviews with office and group managing partners to ensure that diverse talent is being identified and supported as part of wider efforts.

In 2021, we were named one of The Times Top 50 Employers for Women for the third year in a row, and were proud to have been recognised for our efforts in our approach to recruitment, family friendly policies, and championing gender equality in the context of the pandemic. 

close up of a green leaf
Diversity, equity and inclusion at Allen & Overy
orange background with copy


Steps we are taking to create a gender balanced workplace

  • Monitor our female talent pipeline, ensuring that effective sponsorship, mentoring and development plans are in place
  • Listen regularly and respond, as day to day realities for women can change over time – both collectively and for each individual
  • Ensure that development needs and flexible working patterns are not a barrier when allocating work, enabling a fair distribution of opportunities
  • Demonstrate that it’s not only a traditional, linear career path that can lead to partnership
  • Trust people to work remotely on an informal basis as we build more flexible and agile working practices

Beyond A&O

We also work hard to promote diversity beyond our firm.

In the UK, we require that we are given a diverse shortlist of barristers for us and our clients to choose from, and we work with Chambers to help them develop working practices to increase representation of and opportunities for under-represented groups, including women.

In Australia we have signed the Equitable Barrister Briefing policy, which aims to support the number of female barristers briefed. 

In the US, we signed on to Mansfield Rule Certification, which focuses on boosting representation of diverse lawyers in law firm leadership by broadening the pool of candidates considered for these opportunities - we achieved Certification Plus in our inaugural year.

At the beginning of 2018 we set ourselves a series of targets  to prioritise and accelerate gender equality, especially at senior levels. In many cases, we’re ahead of our timelines, but these targets are just the start. We’ll continue to meet the challenges head on to ensure that all of our people have the same opportunities to realise their ambitions.

What A&O are doing to build a gender balance culture, Wim Dejonghe, Senior Partner

businessman against orange background

"We are committed to building on the strong representation of women in senior positions at A&O. We recognise that barriers in the workplace can exist for women whatever their role and we will continue to address them through a range of measures including leadership accountability for talent management and effective sponsorship."

Employee story

Fiona Cumming leading the way in APAC

Fiona talks about her road to partnership and becoming a D&I champion in APAC.

Read Fiona's story