Blog: Women under-represented at senior levels despite more entering the profession



Following SLN’s news on the increasing number of women entering the legal profession Audrey Dishington (pictured) discusses female representation at Pagan Osborne.

It has been widely reported that women are under-represented at senior levels throughout industry and this is particularly prevalent in the legal profession.

Scottish Legal News’ survey has shown that more than sixty per cent of Diploma students are female and the Law Society of Scotland has stated that 49 per cent of Scotland’s lawyers were women in 2014.

The progression of women in the industry does not tend to follow this trend. Figures shared at the recent Global Law Summit stated that although women make up the majority of entrants to the legal sector, just 28.5 per cent of partnership promotions went to women.

The Lawyer found that 19 per cent of partnerships in the UK’s top 200 firms were held by women.

Pagan Osborne is proud to be bucking that trend. Of the five highly qualified and experienced people making up our board of directors, three are women and five of our 11 partner roles are held by female staff.

Each of these women brings significant insight and expertise to the leadership of the company. We believe it is important our senior teams reflect a modern way of working life.

We are committed to developing, training and supporting staff throughout their careers – offering people the opportunities they need to grow professionally. This is in no way a purely altruistic move – attracting and retaining top talent directly benefits our clients and Pagan Osborne as a company.

Personally speaking, I am delighted at how my career has developed as part of the Pagan Osborne team. I joined the company almost 20 years ago in our letting department. As a mother of three children, life was always busy but I was given the opportunities and support to study while I worked to become a solicitor before a number of promotions took me to the position I am in today. As well as nurturing talent within the company, the environment and ethos of Pagan Osborne has attracted top female talent from other firms and organisations.

There was once a view that legal services were run in a very traditional manner with leadership teams that were not particularly diverse. This is definitely changing.

We pride ourselves on being a modern, innovative and forward-thinking legal, financial and property services company. To achieve this, we need to be a company that truly understands our clients, our market and our team and reflects this in the very fabric of the company itself. Our research has shown women are the key decision makers and instigators of legal purchases so it is beneficial our teams reflect our target demographic.

It is our belief that strong female representation at a senior level inspires confidence among those currently climbing the ladder making this an investment for now and the future.

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  • Audrey Dishington is client development director and a partner at Pagan Osborne. You can view her profile here