Burford Capital Logo Light Burford Capital Logo Dark

Burford releases new research on law's gender gap

April 28, 2020

21 May 2020 – Burford Capital, a leading global finance and asset management firm focused on law, today publishes the 2020 Equity Project Study, a groundbreaking report based on interviews with general counsel, heads of litigation and other senior in-house lawyers at global companies with a median revenue of $8 billion. The 2020 Equity Project Study takes a deep dive into the desire to close the gender gap in law and the barriers that general counsel and senior in-house lawyers say still prevent change from happening. The research found:

  • 52% are unaware of how origination credit is awarded by the law firms they hire—a key metric of success and a basis for the enduring gender pay gap in law
  • 48% say their companies have asked their law firm to put a woman on a litigation or arbitration team
  • 80% of GCs and senior in-house lawyers say their companies lack formal policies that the law firms they hire must meet gender diversity requirements
  • 55% say that knowing about The Equity Project—a $50 million pool of capital dedicated solely to women-led commercial litigation and arbitration matters—will change the way they think about or prepare for future affirmative litigation

Aviva Will, Co-COO of Burford, commented: “When we launched The Equity Project in late 2018, we did so believing that economic incentives are a compelling way to bring about needed change, and this research is another step forward in that project. We found that there is still ample room for GCs to use their ‘power of the purse’ to close the gender gap in law, and we are eager to be partners to companies and law firms as they collaborate to address this issue.”

She continued: “Among the many terrific findings from this research is how many GCs and senior in-house lawyers say that now more than ever firms should be prioritizing gender diversity. Firms may fall prey to the temptation to press pause on diversity programs in a downturn, but diversity of perspective matters even more now. Many GCs also believe that working remotely given the pandemic could ignite a change in law firm culture that benefits women.”

The 2020 Equity Project Study is available online at https://burfordcapital.com/insights/insights-container/2020-equity-project-study/. The study is based on one-on-one interviews with over 75 GCs and senior in-house lawyers.


Contact: Emma Maksimovic, Burford Capital, +1 212-235-6824, [email protected]

About Burford Capital

Burford Capital is the leading global finance and asset management firm focused on law. Its businesses include litigation finance and risk management, asset recovery and a wide range of legal finance and advisory activities. Burford is publicly traded on the London Stock Exchange, and it works with law firms and clients around the world from its principal offices in New York, London, Chicago, Washington, Singapore and Sydney. For more information about Burford: www.burfordcapital.com.