TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Women Lawyers Continue To Lag In Partnership Positions, Pay

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National Association of Women Lawyers, 2017 Survey on Promotion and Retention of Women in Law Firms:

This year’s survey demonstrates a continuation of a pattern observed over the last 10+ years, that numbers of women in equity partner positions in law firms have increased slowly, if at all, even while there has been some improvement in other areas, such as representation on governance committees. ...

Of primary interest, given the focus of the Survey and the NAWL Challenges, are the numbers for women equity partners and other leadership positions in law firms. Compared to 5 and 10 years ago, this year’s Survey shows a small increase in the percentage of women equity partners (19 percent in the 2017 survey compared to 15 – 16 percent in the 2012 and 2007 Surveys). While this increase is welcomed, law firms continue to fall short of the original NAWL Challenge goal of 30 percent set more than 10 years ago, and long-term sustained progress will be required to achieve the Challenge goal.

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For other positions in the law firm, women are 30 percent of non-equity partners, 46 percent of associates, 42 percent of non-partner track attorneys (including staff attorneys, counsel attorneys, and the like), and 39 percent of “other” attorneys (which includes any attorneys not captured by the above categories). In other words, women are more likely to be represented in those positions that are either non-partner track and/or lower status than the ownership position of equity partner. ...

Across all types and levels of attorneys, men made more per year than women, and this pattern existed without significant variance across the AmLaw 200 for all attorney types and levels. Across lawyer types, this year’s data show women attorneys making 90 percent to 94 percent of what male attorneys in the same positions are making. It’s important to note that there may be increasing equity at the median compensation level, for individuals at the middle of the compensation distribution, but this pattern co-exists with a persistent pattern that women are not represented among the most highly compensated attorneys at law firms. It is possible that the pay gap is closing in the middle, but widening at the extremes. Unfortunately, the present data set doesn’t allow for further investigation of this point.

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Among equity partners, the median man makes, on average, about $46,000 more a year than the median woman ($688,878 vs. $642,583, respectively). This pattern persists across the AmLaw200, and on average, the median woman equity partner makes 94 percent of what the median man equity partner makes. The 2012 NAWL Survey found that women equity partners were making 90 percent of what men equity partners were making. Ten years ago, the 2007 NAWL Survey reported that women equity partners were making 86 percent of men equity partners. ...

For non-equity partners, the median man makes, on average, about $25,700 more a year than the median woman ($298,380 vs. $272,680, respectively). This pattern persists across the AmLaw 200, and on average, the median women non-equity partners make 90 percent of what the median men non-equity partners make. The 2007 NAWL Survey reported the same disparity, with the median women non-equity partners making 90 percent of the median men equity partners.

For associates, the median man makes, on average, about $10,000 more a year than the median woman ($171,400 vs. $161,439, respectively). This pattern persists across the AmLaw 200, and on average, the median women associates make 94 percent of what the median men associates make.

American Lawyer, Female Equity Partner Rate Is At All-Time High. (But It's Not That Great.)

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2017/09/women-lawyers-continue-to-lag-in-partnership-positions-pay.html

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Comments

Men do not have a monopoly on forming partnerships under the tax code. Any group of women can form a partnership and they can all be equity partners. If they are equity partnership material, their clients will follow them. If they are not equity partnership material, then why should their employer be forced to make them one?

Posted by: JM | Sep 19, 2017 11:35:05 AM