12 PEOPLE | LEGAL SECTOR SUSTAINABILITY INSIGHT 2016 GENDER EQUALITY Gender equality is achieved when people can achieve the same rewards and have access to the same resources and opportunities regardless of their gender. Achieving gender equality is not only because it is ‘the right thing to do’, but it boosts the productivity and performance of organisations and the economy. A McKinsey survey of 366 public companies found that those in the top quartile for gender diversity were fifteen percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians. In 2012 the Grattan Institute found that removing disincentives for women to enter the paid workforce would increase the size of the Australian economy by about $25 billion per year. The Law Council of Australia is committed to taking measures that ensure a level playing field for all members of the Australian legal profession. A major step towards this goal is the development of a National Model Gender Equitable Briefing Policy, which briefing entities now have the opportunity to adopt. The Policy includes interim and long-term targets with the objective of briefing women in at least thirty percent of all matters and paying thirty percent of the value of all brief fees by 2020. The 2016 National Profile of the Profession in Australia reveals that female solicitors make up 35,799 or fifty percent of the legal profession. The Law Society of NSW Chief Executive Officer, Michael Tidball, said ‘the growth in number of female lawyers emphasised the need for law firms and law societies to increase their efforts and strategies to boost the number of women in leadership positions’. An Australian Financial Review Partnership Survey conducted since the 2016 National Profile, has found that two-thirds of the 128 new partners appointed at the nation’s larger law firms were women. The Australian Legal sector generally outperforms the rest of Australian Industry and its comparable industry sectors in gender related commitment and performance. Comparison of Gender Equality Performance AusLSA Members Total Legal Services All Professional Services Aust Industry Policy 91% 59% 61% 58% Targets 64% 31% 16% 13% Female Management Promotions Not measured 58% 40% 44% Composition Key Management/General Manager 31% female 34% female 23% female 29% female Composition Lawyers and Professionals 59% female 63% female 42% female 53% female Gender Pay Gap (professionals) Not measured 13% 20% 20% Source: WGEA Data Explorer 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 International Women's Day Employer of Choice for Gender Equity Male Champions of Change Pay Equity Ambassador Board Links Champion Law Council Diversity and Inclusion Charter FORMAL POLICY POLICY PUBLISHED INITIATIVES 6% 41% 91% 55% 3% 4% No No Yes Yes Currently in development Not Reported POLICY PUBLISHED Number of firms