Freshfields unveils female retention plan

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has launched a gender diversity initiative in a bid to improve its ­retention rate among female solicitors.

The initiative is likely to include a range of programmes, which will be rolled out over the next two years across all the firm's jurisdictions.

It will feature counselling and mentoring programmes as well as seminars ­addressing attitudes to issues such as maternity leave and ­flexible working.

Freshfields global head of HR, partner Caroline Stroud, said the issue of female retention was one that the firm has wanted to address for some time.

"It's something that a business needs to tackle, and law firms need to do it now," Stroud insisted. "It's an issue because you want to retain the best people at the firm."

Stroud added that any programmes would not be imposed on employees but would be "grass roots" initiatives.

In 2006 the firm launched a mentoring scheme for female associates in a bid to bolster the number of female partners.

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