Pay disparity in legal jobs

September 29, 2008
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Women attorneys continue to make less than men.



It doesn’t shock or even surprise me. There’s no disputing that on average, women in all types of professions make less than men, often for doing the same job. It’s been that way for as long as women have been in the workforce.



The U.S. Census Bureau released data from its 2007 American Community Survey showing the disparities in pay between men and women in the legal field. Female attorneys make 77.8 percent of their male counterparts’ salaries; miscellaneous female legal support workers make 72.7 percent of what their male counterparts earn.



According to the data, female judges, magistrates, and other judicial workers make just 64.3 percent of what their male counterparts do. That’s incredibly disappointing, but the numbers have been dragged down because “other judicial workers” includes clerks, who have lower salaries.



On the flip side, paralegals and legal assistants make the closest pay compared to their male counterparts in the profession – 93.2 percent. My theory on this one is that’s because women tend to dominate this legal occupation, so there are fewer men around to make more money.



There are a few theories as to why women continue to make less than men in the legal field. Women may work more flexible schedules and fewer hours to keep up with the demands of being a mom. Maybe fewer women are on the partner track than men because of this disparity.



Frankly, take a look around at the managing partners of law firms around Indiana and the overwhelming majority are men. I’m not trying to accuse them of actively discriminating against women, but they are probably just continuing with the status quo of pay that the law firm has had in place since it began.



Once women start having more leadership roles in firms, perhaps this pay gap will close even more and people will be paid equivalent salaries for equivalent jobs, despite their gender.

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  1. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  2. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  3. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

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