The Gender Pay Gap in Law: What Are the Facts?

Post authored by Jane DiRenzo Pigott

There is both a perception and a reality issue around the gender pay gap in law. Research demonstrates that women attorneys are more likely to perceive a pay gap than men attorneys. The facts demonstrate that a pay gap exists. On March 8, at the CBA’s Women’s History Month Luncheon, Jane DiRenzo Pigott will discuss the pay gap, its potential causes and ideas for addressing the gap. Below, preview some of the facts about the existence of a pay gap.

The 2018 NAWL Survey on Retention and Promotion of Women in Law Firms found the following:

  • the median woman associate makes 95% of what the median male associate makes,
  • the median woman counsel makes 92% of what the median male counsel makes,
  • the median woman non-equity partner makes 97% of what the median male non-equity partner makes, and
  • the median woman equity partner makes 91% of what the median male equity partner makes.

This earnings ratio divides women’s median earnings by men’s median earnings.

The 2018 Partner Compensation Survey prepared by Major, Lindsey & Africa found that the average male partner’s total compensation was 53% more than the average woman partner’s total compensation, up from the 44% differential reported in the 2016 survey.

Finally, the United Kingdom Equity Act of 2010 requires businesses with 250 employees or more to report on the gender pay gap. The reports by law firms for 2018, following the example of accounting firms, included partner data in the report for the first time. Major, Lindsey & Africa reviewed the data reported for partners at the 67 firms in the Magic Circle, the top 30 UK firms and the AmLaw 100 firms with London offices, and found that male partners are paid 24% more than women partners.

Interested in learning more and hearing about causation and solutions? Please join Jane on March 8 at noon at the CBA Building for “The Pay Gap Explained: Why It Exists, How We Close It”. Registration is open at


Jane DiRenzo Pigott
About the Author:
Jane DiRenzo Pigott is Managing Director of R3 Group LLC and specializes in providing leadership, change and talent consulting to professional services organizations. Before founding R3 Group, she chaired the global environmental practice group at Winston & Strawn. While at Winston, she founded and chaired the firm’s Diversity Initiative, rendering the firm an early leader on the topic due to its measured results. In 2000, Pigott received the CBA’s Alliance for Women Founder’s Award. She was co-chair of the CBA’s Alliance for Women in 2004-05.

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