This International Women’s Day we’re proudly celebrating our brilliant female lawyers, and our culture that helps them to inspire the next generation. We’re also celebrating our many female client entrepreneurs as we, a start-up law firm, continue to champion women as founders navigating the far from level playing field.
The brain drain in law
There is a sadly familiar pattern in the legal sector – a mismatch between the number of women entering the profession and those whose careers have advanced to partner or leadership – meaning there is effectively a brain drain of female lawyers.
Despite an even number of women and men joining law firms at the start of their careers – in fact women (52%) outweigh men (46%) at solicitor level – as they progress in their careers, these numbers start to change considerably. On average only 35% of partners are women* (SRA survey of diversity in law firms).
Women are underrepresented at partner level in firms of all sizes, but to a greater extent in the largest law firms, and it’s even more pronounced on leadership teams. Lack of flexibility and work life balance are recognised as being the key reasons for large numbers leaving.
This is why days like IWD are important and here’s why we celebrate as a firm.
We like to think we’re a business law firm with a difference. Since the formation of Ignition eight years ago providing legal services for start-ups, our flexible, remote working-based structure has meant our female senior lawyers are able to have a rewarding and flexible career. Not only are our lawyers able to work flexibly to balance personal commitments, but many are also entrepreneurs too, running successful businesses alongside their legal careers.
We’re paving the way for women in law and proud of our majority female practice where 75% of partners are female and our majority female, senior leadership team.
In 2022 we were recognised for our diversity and inclusion being at the forefront of our business, at the SME News Legal Awards and today we celebrate our culture that supports us to continue breaking the mould.
Championing female founders this International Women’s Day
We’re also celebrating our many female clients, many of whom have founded their own successful businesses and continue to break boundaries. It is difficult being a female entrepreneur. Female-led start-ups are less likely to receive the capital they need to grow and scale their business, even though they generally outperform their male-run competitors, and this can of course limit their potential for success.
In 2021, only 1.1% of funding went to women-founded teams.
In the UK, only 2% of venture capital partners are women, and only 17% of angel investors are women.
35% of female entrepreneurs in the UK feel that they have experienced gender bias when seeking funding for their business. (*Radio 4 Woman’s Hour)
Why female founders are less likely to get funding to grow their business
The reasons for the disparities in funding are numerous with studies finding the following;
Gender bias in investment decision-making where male investors are more likely to favour male-founded start-ups.
Few female role models in funding making it harder to find mentors and supporters
Biased questioning by investors tending to put women on the defensive (e.g.questioning what safeguards they have in place) while giving men opportunities to discuss their start-up vision which attracts more funding.
Celebrating our female clients this International Women’s Day
This all means we need to continue to work hard to support female led founders, start-ups and scale-ups – people like Jane Johnson, founder of Careering into Motherhood and Susanna Rock, co-founder of Gravity Co-living – just two of our amazing female clients, who we are proud to support as their businesses grow.
Jane Johnson – Founder of Careering into Motherhood
Jane created this online community of 11,000 women after turning mums away looking for work via her recruitment business. Careering into Motherhood provides professional career advice to women with children and members get access to over 40 career coaches who all share the mission to help all women to have fulfilling careers on their own terms.
Susanna Rock – Co-Founder & CIO of Gravity Co-living
Susanna co-founded Gravity Co-living with a completely fresh approach to renting and with the aim of disrupting the way young professionals live and work. They offer beautifully designed living spaces to rent but with a focus on creating a community around them through things like co-working, networking and wellbeing events.
At Ignition, we have diverse expertise in providing legal services for start-ups and supporting early-stage entrepreneurs, especially female entrepreneurs. So, if you’re looking for a company that can help you on your journey from start-up to beyond, visit our website and take a look at how we can help you.