Lawyer Pay

Partner Pay Gaps Growing in BigLaw; Average Compensation Is $681K

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Updated: The pay gap is growing larger among different classes of partners at BigLaw firms, according to a new survey.

Average compensation is $681,000, but the figure doesn’t tell the whole story, according to the survey (PDF) by Major, Lindsey & Africa and ALM Legal Intelligence. The Am Law Daily and a press release highlight these pay gaps identified in the study:

• Average compensation is $896,000 for equity partners and $335,000 for nonequity partners.

• Average compensation is $734,000 for male partners and $497,000 for female partners.

• Average compensation is $810,000 in firms that are open about compensation decisions and $465,000 in closed firms.

• Average compensation is $847,000 for corporate lawyers and $634,000 for litigators, even though corporate lawyers reported fewer billable hours.

Partners who were dissatisfied with compensation were asked if the reason was attributable to any biases by the firm. Thirty-five percent blamed cronyism and 11 percent cited gender bias.

After reviewing the findings, ABA President Laurel Bellows said in a statement that the “gender pay disparity is a longstanding, unresolved problem that will only get worse if we do not commit now to bring pay equity to the legal profession.”

She noted that the ABA’s Gender Equity Task Force is developing model compensation policies for law firms to increase transparency, encourage inclusion of women on law firm compensation committees, and ensure that women are provided with the same financial opportunities as men.

The survey is based on responses from more than 2,200 partners at large law firms.

Also see: “Advocacy Group Wants to Change Model Ethics Rules to Include Diversity Obligation”

Last updated 3 p.m. Thursday to include a comment from Laurel Bellows.

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