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. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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