October 17, 2016 Practice Points

Gender Pay Gap Among Law Firm Partners

Are clients willing to pay more for male work over female work? Or is it the firm structure?

By Jessica Pieri

A new survey by Major, Lindsey, and Africa (results published by Bloomberg Law and The Wall Street Journal Law Blog) shows that male partners make 44 percent more on average than female partners. Two possible reasons suggested for this are (1) male partners are generating more business than female partners, thus the men have higher origination credits, and (2) the average billable rate for male partners was $701/hour and only $636/hour for women. So, are clients willing to pay more for male work over female work? Or is it the firm structure?

The answer(s) may be a bit of both, according to the WSJ. The good news though is that origination credits for female partners have increased by 40 percent (as compared to 18 percent for their male counterparts) since 2014. Thus, the WSJ advises, among other things, for women to continue to refer business to other women, make it a point to seriously engage in initial salary negotiations, and publicize and discuss their accomplishments during their reviews. Also young women (and lawyers in general) should seek out a mentor inside and outside of the firm to get invaluable insights into the promotion structure.

Jessica Pieri is an associate with the Law Offices of Alfred F. Morrocco and Associates in Bristol, Connecticut.

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