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Mixed teams make for better client relationships

Mixed teams make for better client relationships

By Karin Derkley

Diversity 

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Mixed gender legal teams outperform single gender teams on a number of measures, a study by global legal market research firm Acritas has found.

The researcher analysed the performance of mixed versus single gender teams and found there was an uplift in performance across 12 key performance indicators. The biggest gain in performance was for strength of relationships.

Acritas conducted the study by asking more than 2000 senior in-house counsel to rate the law firms they worked with, and then asking them separately about the gender make-up of the teams at the law firms.

The satisfaction ratings for mixed gender teams was nearly 7% higher than for single gender teams - an uplift Acritas CEO Lisa Hart Shepherd says is significant.

Despite this, male law firm clients are still biased against picking female lead partners, the study found. Male clients pick a female lead in just 17% of cases.

That entrenched bias – despite the clear benefits of gender diversity – supports the case for quotas, says Ms Shepherd. She recommends that clients, both male and female, apply quotas in their work allocation, giving at least one in three matters to a female lead partner and demand gender diverse teams. “This will start to balance the power and increase the chances of equity for women,” she says.

At the same time, law firms should also ensure they field gender diverse teams and push their female lawyers to the forefront of relationships, Ms Shepherd says. “For both sides, these efforts will be rewarded with a better result – a more satisfying service for clients and stronger, more loyal relationships for firms.”


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