Female lawyers earn a third less than males

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  • Interesting but would be good to have a bit more detail. Are the salary/bonus figures based on lawyers with the same PQE, at equivalent sized firms etc? If it is just an aggregate figure then it's not too surprising given the other statistic re. partnership levels.

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  • How do firmsa justify the male / female pay gaps? Or is it more a case of the females not knowing they are paid less since there is little transparency of bands / grades?

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  • Also, it's pretty clear why women are paid less - the threat of going off and getting pregnant. Especially when women hit a certain age or level of seniority - guess the partners give up on a woman's partnership prospects or likelihood of sticking around.

    Suspect that stigma will never change - even in this day and age.

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  • I think some departments are better at pay equality across genders than others - e.g. the 'softer' departments where there is a more nuturing environment and generally the partners care more about their associates. It's likely more prevalent in the more 'macho, aggressive departments, like corporate or banking, where there is most certainly an assumption that senior women will have a baby - and that's it, regardless of whether they're likely to take full maternity leave, whether they're likely to come back or not after said maternity leave, or what their personal care arrangements for that child might be. Absolutely disgusting.

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  • Statistics schmatistics,

    Does that mean that each individual female lawyer earns the same on average as each individual lawyer, but that for every 100 male lawyers there are 68 female lawyers? (Sounds about right if 48% of associates and 28% of partners are women). And that partners' bonuses are a bit more than associates' bonuses...?

    Reminds me of the first joke I ever remembered - why do white sheep eat more than black sheep? Ans: because there are more of them.

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  • I am always suspicious of statistics that aggregate across the piece without comparing like with like. For example, do the statistics show the gender make up in each type of specialism? Say, for example (and this is assumption rather than on any known factual basis), there was disproportionate representation of women in areas such as employment and family law compared with corporate law, the average salaries of a group of 100 men and 100 women may be lower than but that could be linked more to the fees generated by the corporate area of specialisation than for other areas than to the fact that employers per se are discriminating against women. I am not saying it does not happen but I remain to be convinced that discrimination in pay is endemic.

    Similarly, the issue about the paucity of women at partner level relates to the lack of opportunity (whether the glass ceiling or lack of flexible working) rather than systematic pay differential on grounds of gender.

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  • @AndrewJames, I agree that the article is unclear on what the statistics are derived from. The author does seem to be saying that the aggregate spend on male lawyers is more than on females, which of course stands to reason since there are less of them.

    HOWEVER, I absolutely believe that sex discrimination and sexism exists in law firms, despite it being 2013 and how far we've come. Perhaps not at the junior levels or mid levels so much, but certainly for women in senior positions in City law firms.

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  • Note that the report compares remuneration for females vs. males; it does not compare remuneration at equivalent seniority, or, to the point, remuneration at equivalent seniority, effort and commitment.

    Clearly the underlying cause of the disparity lies with child rearing, and the reality that on the whole women spend considerably more time raising their children than men do. (Btw, I would assert that this is far less to do with men shirking as some may think, and is largely driven by gender stereotypes and gender expectations which women adhere to as much if not more than men.)

    Assume that male and female lawyers are as likely as each other to have children (hopefully not a contentious assumption).

    I would assert, from experience of both lawyering and child rearing, that taking a leading role in child care is wholly incompatible with the rigours of a full time job as a City lawyer. Indeed, the same may be said of merely taking an equal role in child rearing, or even much more than a cameo at breakfast - as you won't be there for dinner/bath/teeth/story/bed - and rising to the occasion when the better half says, "omigod I am knackered GET THEM OUT OF THE HOUSE" at the weekend, assuming you're not working that weekend.

    Any lawyer who has made it to Partner at a sizeable City firm will have been through long stretches of late nights, all nighters, weekend work, often under incredible time pressure. It simply is not possible to have a significant involvement in the day-to-day life of child raising when in the office 14-24 hours a day, 27-30 days a month for months on end. Conversely, this is a rite of passage required of the majority of City lawyers in order to make partnership. The consequence is that, for so long as more women than men wish to take the leading role in raising their children, more men than women will rise to the higher echelons of the profession, and on average men will earn more than women.

    If this is something which people find objectionable, then rather than complain that it is the firms' obligation to change - start your own 'child friendly' firm. Frankly, I may well choose to work there. But if I did I'll bet I wouldn't do the sheer number of hours, nor will the firm win the high stress, high pressure work which commands the highest fees, compared to lawyers at the big City shops. In turn, third parties (i.e. clients) will not pay as much for my services, and consequently I will not earn as much.

    My own wife very much wanted to take the leading role in raising our children. In turn, I wasn't given the choice of being a stay-at-home Dad (without taking a massive financial hit for the family). Consequently, I earn much more than my wife. This isn't a result of some discriminatory conspiracy; rather, at worst, it is my wife who has succumbed to gender stereotyping (or perhaps just her strong maternal instincts).

    Out of interest, her Mummy circle includes more than one Associate on maternity leave from well-known City law firms who express dread at going back to the law firm, have detailed knowledge of the maternity-leave rules, and practice scientific family planning of the 'how long do I have go back to work before I can take maternity leave with the next child' variety.

    Looking at this from the other side of the coin, and from experience at a few City firms, I really believe that firms do not give a hoot as to their lawyers' gender. If you are always available, bringing in new clients, keeping existing clients happy, racking up the hours, churning out the bills, getting those bills paid, and in doing so generating cash for the firm, your race, gender, sexual preference or for that matter whether you exhibit one or more of an extremely wide range of personal oddities is of little if any consequence.

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  • Anonymous @ 2:51. I wholeheartedly believe that women in corporate are paid less than male counterparts, within each specialist area. Anonyous @ 12:14pm hit the nail on the head - they are less nuturing, less 'forgiving', more presumptious and more aggressive.

    Sadly, either the female (senior) lawyers either never speak up against differential pay, or do not know ... more likely the latter with these ridiculous bands and scales and points systems in place, and no transparency as to where you sit or why.

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  • Mister Ogynous - " I really believe that firms do not give a hoot as to their lawyers' gender. If you are always available, bringing in new clients, keeping existing clients happy, racking up the hours, churning out the bills, getting those bills paid, and in doing so generating cash for the firm, your race, gender, sexual preference or for that matter whether you exhibit one or more of an extremely wide range of personal oddities is of little if any consequence."

    What?!!! Sure, they're happy enough - happy to beast these yound women as they rise through the ranks, clocking X billable hours. They obviously couldn't care less whether said lawyer is male or female. But when you hit a certain level and pay becomes more discretionary - it does factor into pay, because the assumption is that the female lawyer doesn't need to be as incentivised since she's likely to have children and never come back. The male equivalent, however - him, they want to nuture and make feel more valued, since his chances of staying are "seen to be" higher.

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