Lawyer Pay

The gap between the highest- and lowest-paid BigLaw partners is expanding

  • Print.

pay gap

Image from Shutterstock.

Law firms seeking to hold on to top lawyers appear willing to pay higher amounts that increase the gap between their highest- and lowest-paid equity partners.

At the 100 highest-grossing firms, the median pay ratio was 9-to-1 in 2021, up from 8.8-to-1 the prior year, reports. At second hundred firms, the median ratio was roughly 9-to-1, up from 8-to-1 the prior year.

Some individual law firms compressed their pay ratios after some “dramatic increases” in 2020, the article reports. The equity partner pay ratio at Perkins Coie was 9.6-to-1 in 2021, down from 30.9-to-1 in 2020. The ratio was 11-to-1 at Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff, down from 21-to-1 in 2020.

Pay ratios can vary in any year because of one-time bonuses.

“But talent remains at a premium across BigLaw,” the article reports, “And the general trend is clear that the largest firms have grown increasingly willing to differentiate compensation between tiers of lawyers.”

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.