Gender influences legal buyer behaviour: Diversity data (part 1)

Yesterday was a very big day for us at Acritas. It was the day we shared publically for the very first time new insight on gender and diversity in law – specifically how gender can influence buying behaviors and how a diverse team leads to a better performance.

This year is the first year that we have included questions in our annual Sharplegal study that have allowed us to:

  1. Reveal the differences in male versus female legal buying criteria
  2. Explore how a female versus male lead partner differs in performance
  3. Demonstrate the different performance levels of an increasingly diverse team.


The event was the final in the 2015 MLA Breakfast seminar series ‘Managing Your Career: The XX Advantage’. We were very lucky to have an excellent panel that were very open and honest about their views on this new market data, and more importantly shared a lot of advice about how law firms and in-house counsel can work together better. So what did we reveal?

Proven market facts are on their way!
Because we are still interviewing for our Sharplegal 2015 study, the results shared are interim data but are based on 1781 interview conducted across 55 countries and across all industries around the world.

Full results will be available after January 2016 and we are really looking forward to being able to look at how the results might differ between markets once the base size is big enough. 

Does law firm attraction vary? 
For both genders the top 5 factors that influence attraction overall are the same. However, when we looked at the differences by gender (and there are 25 factors in total that are mentioned by clients) we discovered some significant differences. For those who love data and stats as much as we do these differences are significant at 95% confidence level.


We also analyzed a number of other questions and discovered a few additional key differences. On the whole women tended to be less trusting of their law firms, they like to be communicated to more regularly, know the breakdown of fees and be kept up to date on billing. Men on the other hand don’t seem to be as concerned about those aspects, for example, our data shows they are more trusting and more willing to work by the hourly rate.

The impact of gender when leading a team
Overall the evidence shows that male and female lead partners are getting the same level of satisfaction from clients in the market. The performance was very similar across a number of different attributes, those that we know to be most important in the delivery of legal services.

Men are performing slightly better on relationship factors and business understanding, and women are performing slightly better at quality and consistency of quality. At this stage in our interviewing year we found no significant differences. But as we continue to interview this year we will be keeping a close eye on these results because things might change!

To read part two of this post-event blog please click here.

Over the next couple of weeks we will be posting video recordings from the event on our YouTube channel Acritas Insight

Be sure to follow us on our official Twitter to find out when we share these new videos.

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