For real equality in the legal sector
Bigle Legal's Alejandro Esteve de Miguel argues successful business management can only be achieved by making equality the basis of corporate strategy
Society is making progress in the inclusion of female talent in different professional fields. What was utopian decades ago is, fortunately, becoming a reality. However, although there has been some progress, change is still a long way off. There is still a long way to go to achieve gender equality in sectors such as the legal sector. I experienced this on a daily basis when I worked as a corporate lawyer and I still see it today.
In 2021, less than 25% of the partners of UK law firms were women. Unfortunately, there is still a lot of work to be done. In the legal profession, it is still difficult to see an increase in the number of women in key positions, especially in management positions in law firms and at the Bar. Colleagues with excellent careers speak of the added difficulties of being a woman in a sector that has not yet broken away from its traditional base.
Different obstacles and complications result in a clear pay gap or the well-known glass ceiling in companies and public bodies. Putting an end to all this implies a collective effort in different areas.
Changing mindsets to close implicit gaps
In the words of Pilar Menor, senior partner at DLA Piper, the first task is to reduce the employment gap. Although women are integrated into the labour market, we must be aware that there are male-dominated professions with a very precarious female presence. It is not only a question of numbers, it's a question of equal working hours and equal working conditions. It all adds up to real equality.
Similarly, true evolution cannot be understood if it is not accompanied by regulation. Although society has advanced and equality laws exist, they need to be put into practice and realised in reality. In addition, many sectors need to internalise that it is in management positions that diversity needs to start being addressed.
Another point to highlight is the initiatives to reward female talent. They are necessary to recognise and position women lawyers from different sectors because equality must also be achieved in the recognition of professional success.
Change starts from the top
In the tech legal sector, the gap is still significant, but I believe that change has to start from a management perspective. At Bigle Legal, three out of five senior management positions are held by women and, since last year, we have managed to double the percentage of female colleagues in our firm.
The hiring of women has increased in our more technical areas, such as product development and design, where there is progress, which is slowly being introduced and which will always be synonymous with breaking down the barriers that are arbitrarily imposed in certain more technical sectors.
Diversity, synonymous with better companies
Inclusion is essential for teams to thrive. These are not empty words. Studies such as Deloitte's Diversity and Inclusion 2021 report show how organisations that embrace diversity and inclusion have 17% higher performance and 20% more creative ideas while being six times more agile.
Diversity means attracting talent, creativity and innovation, which leads to more complete development of companies. The sooner we focus on equal opportunities, the sooner we will find healthier corporations and much more equal workplaces.
Achieving equality in the legal and legal tech sector requires real impetus, by hiring female talent in positions of responsibility and by a joint effort by society. But it is also a must for companies if they want to thrive, by embracing diversity and an inclusive culture. Real change is everyone's responsibility. Successful corporate governance is not a question of gender, it is a question of corporate strategy, but the corporate strategy cannot be understood without a foundation of egalitarian and inclusive thinking.
Alejandro Esteve de Miguel is co-founder & CEO of Bigle Legal
About Bigle Legal
Bigle Legal is a Contract Lifecycle Management Software, provides an AI-powered, cloud-based solution that automates the legal operations of a company while improving safety and minimizing the risk of legal contingencies.
A pioneer tech company and leader in the field of document automation from Spain, with a presence in the UK, Austria, Netherlands and Italy, and has a network reseller across Europe and Latin America. Its clients include real estate companies, corporations, and large law firms. The platform is precise, flexible, and intuitive, providing full control over the entire document lifecycle.