By jessie kornberg • March 09, 2008•Firms and the Private Sector
Twenty years ago Judith Kaye - now the Chief Judge of New York's Court of Appeals and a keynote speaker at Ms. JD's Student Leadership Summit - published a breakthrough study in the Fordham Law Review on the state of gender equity in law firms. In their current volume Fordham Law Review is publishing a follow-up, "The Progress of Women Lawyers at Big Firms: Steadied or Simply Studied?"
There's good news and bad. Since 1988 there are more female attorneys and more female attorneys in senior positions. But inequities remain - in compensation and in position.
- In 1988, fewer than 8% of partners at big firms were women, although the associate entry-level class was 40% female. In 2007, women accounted for 16% of equity partners, 26% of nonequity partners, and 30% of “of counsel” lawyers, although the associate entry-level class was close to half female.
- As recently as November 2007, the National Association of Women Lawyers found that, of thirty-five firms willing to report compensation by gender, the average median compensation of a male equity partner was almost $90,000 higher than that of a female equity partner, $27,000 higher than that of a female nonequity partner, and $20,000 higher in the of counsel position.
- 90% of firms report their top earning member is a man.
I recommend the article, especially to those considering a career in a big firm.