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Lee Ranson.

Eversheds Sutherland International wants 30 percent of its partnership ranks outside the United States filled with female attorneys by 2021, and has appointed a new ‘gender champion’ to lead the firm’s efforts to boost diversity.

The target applies to Eversheds Sutherland International, which encompasses the legacy Eversheds business outside the United States, and which currently has a 25.5 percent female partnership.

The firm has also appointed global employment and pensions head Diane Gilhooley as its ‘gender champion’—a new role that makes her responsible for leading the firm’s relaunched gender network.

Gilhooley will spearhead the firm’s new career development program, Development Plus, which will offer female principal associates and other senior professional staff one-on-one custom coaching that focuses on their career development.

“We’re setting new targets for gender and the leadership team will take direct responsibility for hitting them,” co-CEO Lee Ranson told ALM’s London-based publication Legal Week. “It’s linked to their remuneration.”

Ranson said the gender network will examine initiatives the firm can pilot over the next 18 months. “We now have a female chair and the board is 50 percent female, so we’ve got momentum,” he said.

The new initiatives were announced at the firm’s global relationship firm conference in Atlanta to coincide with International Women’s Day.

The firm is also currently considering introducing targets for racial and ethnic minorities, as well as LGBT employes, at the trainee-, associate- and partner-level as part of a wider overhaul of its diversity strategy.

Eversheds Sutherland International is distinct from its U.S. arm, following the tie-up with U.S. firm Sutherland Asbill & Brennan in February 2017. The firm is structured as a company limited by guarantee, with no financial integration between the two arms.

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