Women attorneys frustrated compensation gap still wide

Source: The Indiana Lawyer

By Marilyn Odendahl, Indiana Lawyer

For the most part, women leaders in Indiana’s legal profession are not surprised that female attorneys earn less than their male counterparts. What does shock them is how much less they are making.

The 2016 Partner Compensation Survey by Major Lindsey & Africa found that, on average, male partners at law firms across the country earn $949,000 in compensation as compared to the $659,000 female partners earn on average. This creates a compensation gap of 44 percent.

Changing attitudes

Looking at the survey results, Beesley believes the compensation gap may be linked to women simply being outnumbered. In general, there are fewer women partners and they are younger, so they would not be at the same level of work as male partners.

Beesley, who began practicing in 1980, pointed out that for a long time, women attorneys who had children would often have to step off the partner track. Law firms were not accommodating to working mothers, so women left firms and sometimes the legal profession.

Losing that talent forced firms to change. She noted her own firm recently adopted a policy that, in part, allows associates who work alternative schedules, such as women caring for young children, to remain on the partner track.

John Trimble, partner at Lewis Wagner LLP, and Ron Nye, managing partner of Major Lindsey & Africa’s Chicago office, both said law firms are helping diverse attorneys attain success. Firms are making sure young lawyers have opportunities as well as mentors to help them build their practices.

Nye said while the pace of change is not as fast as many would like, the hope is that by the next survey, the compensation gap will be much smaller.

Read more of this article at Indiana Lawyer.


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