May 30, 2014 Practice Points

Female Lawyers Still Struggle to Bridge Gender Gap

By Lane L. Marmon, Rutkin

According to a Wall Street Journal article, female lawyers continue to struggle to bridge the gender gap, meaning that they have been unable to excel in the legal field in a manner equal to that of their male contemporaries. Such inequality persists despite the increasing number of female lawyers and judges in the United States. Women attorneys continue to lag behind their male counterparts in the areas of billable rates, the number of equity partners at the 200 top-grossing U.S. law firms, and compensation received for services rendered. 

The reasons routinely provided for such inequity include the “lack of business-development opportunities, work-life balance issues, and attrition.” However, a recent review by Sky Analytics helps repudiate such pretexts; it shows that female attorneys bill at lower rates than male counterparts with comparable experience and rank. 

Although cracks in the glass ceiling highlight its lack of structural integrity, female lawyers should not be deceived into thinking that the fight for equality is at an end. Thus, persistent effort is necessary to ensure that we can move toward equality, not only before the law, but in the legal field as well.


Keywords: woman advocate, litigation, inequity, glass ceiling, gender gap, female lawyers, billable rates, equity partnership, compensation, attrition, work-life balance, business development

Lane L. Marmon, Rutkin works at Oldham & Griffin, L.L.C., Westport in Connecticut

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