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What the Data on Law Firm Comp Shows About Partner Pay Equity

Katelyn Polantz law.com

The trend lines look like the great divide, a gap that might never narrow. Female partners at law firms have earned less, on average, than male partners for at least the six years since ALM has tracked such data. They’ve billed less, too.

The charts on this page, derived from ALM Legal Intelligence’s annual Survey of Law Firm Economics, which collects data from thousands of Big Law lawyers and hundreds of firms, show how equity partner, nonequity partner and associate-level lawyers have fared from 2010 to 2015.

The data revealed some highlights:

A $95,000 Gap

The greatest disparity between genders happens at the equity-partner level. Female equity partners’ total compensation lagged almost $95,000 behind male equity partners’, on average, at $356,078 to the men’s $449,691 a year. Five years ago, that gap was actually slightly smaller, with female equity partners earning almost $90,000 less than men on average. (A recent study by Major, Lindsey & Africa found a gulf even wider this year between female and male partners’ pay.)

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