Male Law Partners Make 44 Percent More Than Female Ones

By Christina Cauterucci,

Male partners at major U.S. law firms make 44 percent more than their female peers, in part because male partners bring in more money in new business—or get more credit for doing so.

According to a recent survey of 2,100 law partners from legal search firm Major, Lindsey & Africa, the average male partner makes $949,000 a year; female partners earn an average of $659,000. In 2014, that gap was even larger, at 47 percent. Female compensation has increased 24 percent since then, and male compensation has risen 22 percent.

Among all partners, a 24 percent plurality said the main reason for any dissatisfaction with their pay was “cronyism.” This is one major clue to the alarmingly wide wage gap between men and women who lead their law firms. Men pass leads onto their male buddies or mentees and are more likely to recognize the good work of those boys’ club members. Then there’s the gendered issue of getting credit, with which most of us are probably familiar by now: Men demand it for themselves, and people readily give it to them, while women boost others.

Jeffrey A. Lowe, a Major, Lindsey & Africa leader, told the New York Times that partners pointed to “origination”—bringing new cases to the firm—as the top factor in their industry’s wage gap. The new report found that female partners originated an annual average of $1.73 million in business; male ones brought in an average of $2.59 million each. Partners’ compensation depends in part on how much money they bring to their firms each year, so women end up making much less. The Times notes that friendly connections from law school and even earlier have a major impact on legal representation, giving men with mostly male networks a leg up when it comes to finding new clients or getting more business from existing ones.

Read more of this article at Slate.


Connect with one of our experienced recruiters to explore new horizons.