The number of women promoted to partnership at magic circle firms has risen by 50% – but they still make up just a quarter of all the promotions.A total of 95 solicitors were this week elected to partnership at the leading five firms. Of these, 24 were women – up from 16 in April last year, when 71 men were also promoted.Allen & Overy (pictured) promoted the highest number of women, with nine female partners out of a total of 23 (including Sarah Henchoz, and Cindy Low). Women made up more than a quarter of Linklaters’ promotion list.At Freshfields, just 15% of new partners are female, while at Clifford Chance the proportion of new women partners fell year on year. Neither of the two new partners at Slaughter and May is female.David Childs, managing partner at Clifford Chance, admitted there is ‘more work to be done’ to improve equality. A spokeswoman for Freshfields said the firm has already made plans to ensure that more female candidates are brought through to partnership. The new roster of promotions reflects magic circle firms’ increasing investment in markets in continental Europe.The proportion of new partners in the UK dropped by a third from 2011 to 23%, while the rest of Europe took up more than 40% of the total.Markets in east Asia and the Americas are also becoming more prominent, with increasing partner numbers in both regions.
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