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The past 3 months has been unpredictable and challenging for many around the world, but one thing for certain is that Denmark has once again led from the front in tackling a global challenge. More normally associated with climate change, Denmark has been tackling the fight against COVID-19 and they’ve done it head on. Life as we knew it appears to be returning to some form of normality. From schools taking in students again, to shops and restaurants re-opening, it certainly seems like business as usual, and it’s no different in the Danish legal market.
Notable events have seen firms such as Kromann Reumert and DLA Piper go through a round of redundancies, parting company with 29 and 15 employees respectively. Negative news of course, but more than 70% of those let go where within administrative roles – is this possibly companies shifting towards taking a more digital approach? We’ve also seen other companies make bold moves in the opposite direction. KPMG Law Firm has recruited a new partner from the firm DLA Piper, Line Kjær, who will head a new office in Aarhus, whilst Frantz Sigersted-Rasmussen has joined Moalem Weitemeyer Bendtsen.
Standing out though has been the fight for gender diversity as well as the perceived lack of work-life balance for young but ambitious lawyers. Denmark is a leader in gender diversity and in the legal sector in general there is good parity. Unfortunately, at Partner or Board level the same cannot be said - in Denmark’s leading law firms only 15% of Partners are female. When you then look at a survey from 10 years ago where Junior Attorney’s where asked whether they wanted to make Partner, 49% said yes. In 2020, 10 years later, another survey of almost 300 showed that only 14% want to make that their future. This is in some part attributed to work-life balance with many companies still wanting their employees available 24/7. It’s an idea that is evolving for some practices, but the definition of success is now changing for women and young people. Despite us working in an amazing and thought-leading field, our industry risks losing out on young, ambitious and diverse talents unless we change soon. Boston Consulting Group recently found that the value and stock prices of gender-diverse and inclusive companies typically outperform those of their male-dominated rivals. They also tend to have higher revenues. Although change is most always hard, it is only ever a good thing when it comes to diversity in the workplace.
Whilst there is much to work on and improve, the underlying message from many of our clients is that business must keep moving forwards. One thing we know for certain is that Denmark rarely get it wrong and already, despite some uncertainty, the Danish legal market remains strong and opportunistic.