Look beyond the headlines - Laurence Simons

Look beyond the headlines.

Shining a light on pay disparity in the legal industry.

LS_Pay Equality Illustration-min
Laurence Simons
Laurence Simons

Before we can have equity, we need equality.


The theme for International Womens Day 2023 is #EmbraceEquity. We at Laurence Simons feel that to have true equity, we must first embrace equality, specifically equal pay, in the legal industry.


Are you ready to join the conversation and help to make a change? Click the button below to jump to the sign-up page for our free interactive webinar on tackling pay disparity.


Sign up for our webinar


Pay disparity starts early.


Pay disparity is a recurring theme being raised every International Women’s Day, and yet, it is still a pervasive issue in many industries, including the legal industry. In fact, a recent analysis shows that the median pay gap in the industry of 25.4% has changed very little since reporting on pay was made mandatory in 2017 (Global Legal Post).


Encouragingly, a growing number of young girls are enrolling in legal courses (nearly 71% of enrolled students are women, according to the Law Society). While this number is inspiring, the reality that these young women face when they do qualify as lawyers is a disparity between their compensation and that of their male peers; on average, 15% less in compensation, according to Bloomberg. This disparity can grow to 50% less salary for female trial lawyers in the UK (Bar Council). 


The inequality continues for women as they progress in their legal careers.


The rate of progress to close the gender pay gap in the legal industry has been frustratingly slow. This slow progression has not gone unnoticed by female professionals in the field; in a recent poll, 84% of UK female lawyers said they did not expect to see gender pay equality during their careers (WorldTrademarkReview).


Making Partner is an incredible milestone for any in private practice. In the UK, female representation in all levels of Partnership is only 35%, according to SRA. The unfortunate reality is that those few women who do manage to break the glass ceiling and make Partner at their firm (at any level) are still subjected to pay disparity. According to Bloomberg, compensation on average for women at all levels of Partnership in the legal industry is 44% less than that of their male colleagues.


While the inequality is less pronounced when it comes to in-house legal functions, female Corporate Counsel do make less than their male peers. According to Reuters, the average compensation for a women Corporate Counsel is 14% less.



Pay disparity remains a reality, even at the highest levels.


When it comes to the seniormost level of Partnership, we see these numbers grow. While the data is challenging to uncover, in the United States, where women account for only 22% of Equity Partners, the salary inequality is an incredible 78% less than male Equity Partners (Bloomberg). When looking at the disparity for senior in-house Counsel, the gap in real US dollars is $50,000 less for female General Counsel (Barker Gilmore). 


The unfortunate reality of the pay disparity in the legal industry is that while two-thirds of female lawyers note the gender pay gap as an urgent issue for women’s equality, few feel this urgency is shared. In fact, 62% of those surveyed believed that fixing the problem was not actually a priority for their senior management (WorldTrademarkReview).

Join the conversation, and make a change.


The problem is pervasive and requires all of us in the legal industry to join together, learn and boldly advocate for ourselves and our female colleagues.


You may be wondering where to begin. Our CEO, Clare Beresford, will be hosting an interactive webinar to share how you can make a change in your organisation and answer your questions. Sign up below for our upcoming webinar.


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