Law Practice

Survey Says Income Gap Grows in 'Overwhelmingly Male' BigLaw

A survey by the National Association of Women Lawyers paints a gloomy picture of the legal profession, as far as the advancement of female attorneys at the country’s 200 largest law firms is concerned.

“Among its findings, the survey shows that there is a growing income gap between men and women lawyers as they move up the partnership ranks, that the large majority of women who start as associates in firms are not promoted to equity positions or law firm leadership roles, and that law firm governance is overwhelmingly male, with fully 15 percent of the surveyed firms lacking a female on its top committee,” NAWL reports in a press release today.

At every level, male lawyers earn more than their female counterparts, the bar group writes. “Male of-counsels earn roughly $20,000 more than females, male nonequity partners earn roughly $27,000 more than females, and male equity partners earn almost $90,000 more than female equity partners.”

On average, women represent just under 17 percent of the equity partners at large law firms.

Although NAWL apparently has not immediately made a copy of this year’s survey available on the Web, the findings are not greatly changed from last year’s survey.

It found that women comprise just 16 percent of equity partners, despite the fact that they have constituted half of the country’s law school graduates for the past 15 years, notes a Legal Intelligencer article written shortly after the 2006 survey results were released.

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