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In one elite industry, the pay gap for women is more than double the national average

Catherine Clifford cnbc.com

The compensation gap between female and male partners at law firms in the U.S. is 44 percent.

That's according to the  most recent compensation survey of big law firm partners by the legal search firm Major, Lindsey & Africa, which came out this week.

More broadly, women in the U.S. are paid 20.4 percent less than their male counterparts, according to the most recent data available from  The Institute for Women's Policy Research.

Female partners at big law firms make, on average, $659,000. Meanwhile, male partners make, on average, $949,000, according to the survey results, which are the fourth in a series from Major, Lindsey & Africa. Almost 77,000 law firm partners were sent surveys and about 2,100 partners in the U.S. responded. 

Partners at big law firms are doing well across the board. The average salary for partners, both men and women, is $877,000, up 22 percent from only a couple years ago, when the average was $716,000.

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