Norton Rose Fulbright Australia to focus on 40:40:20 gender diversity target

Australia Diversity and inclusion February 2020

Norton Rose Fulbright in Australia is pleased to announce that, having reached its 35 per cent target for female partners by 2020, it will now focus on the firm’s new global aspirational 40:40:20 gender diversity target.

That target is for a minimum of 40 per cent women, a minimum of 40 per cent men and 20 per cent flexibility to be truly inclusive. The ratio will form the basis for a range of gender metrics, including:

  • Overall partnership
  • Management committees and leadership roles (including client relationship partners and business services leaders)
  • Partner promotions
  • External partner candidates
  • Senior business services hires

Norton Rose Fulbright managing partner in Australia, Wayne Spanner, said that the firm was pleased to have succeeded in its push to reach 35 per cent female partners by 2020 – but there is still more to do.

“We are pleased to have reached our target. A decade ago this number was less than 20 per cent, a reality that was out of step with the modern workplace. We committed to change, to setting ourselves clear targets and goals to improve gender diversity across our partnership and our firm,” he said.

“By setting these clear targets, ensuring we were talking to talented women both within and outside the firm to join the partnership, running initiatives such as our Career Strategies Program to support our senior women on the pipeline to partnership and creating true flexible work opportunities for all of our people, we have grown this number year on year – and now hit our goal of 35 per cent.”

The firm was the first with more than 100 partners in Australia to break the 30 per cent female partner barrier in December 2017, and while it aimed to push this target higher to 35 per cent by 2020, it had also begun a shift in Australia towards a 40:40:20 target for its leadership groups. The new 40:40:20 target, announced this week as a global aspirational target for all of Norton Rose Fulbright, will see the firm in Australia continue to lift its proportion of female partners in coming years and institute permanent diversity in senior roles.

“This new language of 40:40:20 will form the universal goal for gender diversity at Norton Rose Fulbright in Australia and as such is our new target for men and women entering into our partnership academy as well as for our annual new partner intake,” Mr Spanner said. “We will hold ourselves accountable to a minimum of 40 per cent female participation in each of these areas.  And, of course, it is very exciting that Alison Deitz will be taking over as our first ever female managing partner in Australia this year.”

In December 2019, the firm announced that Alison Deitz will be its first female managing partner in Australia from July 1, 2020.