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Law Practice Management

New ABA online toolkit helps law firms address gender-based pay inequities

Posted Mar 18, 2013 12:21 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Photo of Laurel Bellows by Marc Hauser.

As female attorneys in private practice continue to earn less than male counterparts, the American Bar Association has put together a program to help law firms address pay inequities.

Available online, the ABA Toolkit for Gender Equity in Partner Compensation is also intended to help state and local bar associations organize conferences on the topic, according to Reuters.

"I think almost every law firm compensation policy could use some tweaks," said ABA President Laurel G. Bellows, explaining that the initiative is intended to encourage law firm leaders to talk about potential changes in both compensation and hiring models.

A 2012 survey by Major Lindsey & Africa looked at partners at over 2,000 law firms. It found that average compensation for male partners was $734,000, while female partners earned $497,000, Reuters reports. That was an even bigger pay gap than in 2010, when the men made an average of $675,000, while the women earned $513,000.

Meanwhile, corporations have had greater success than law firms in promoting women to the upper ranks, and business clients have put pressure on law firms to diversify.

An ABA press release provides further details.

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