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Women In-House Lawyers Make 15 Percent Less Than Men, Study Finds

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By Jonathan R. Tung, Esq. on April 26, 2016 4:01 PM

According to Canada's Canadian Corporate Counsel Association and Counsel Network, female in-house lawyers are earning about 15 percent less than their average randomly selected male colleagues. The results of the survey were reported by Canadian Lawyer magazine.

But the numbers can hardly qualify as news. The fifteen percent number was apparently evident about four years ago.

Across (Canadian) Sectors

According to the breakdown of the numbers, women consistently earned less (we should not be surprised by now) than their male counterparts: criminal law, non-profits, and corporate. Only in government law did women enjoy pay-parity with their male counterparts. Apparently, in-house lawyers do rather well salary-wise up in Canada. Males in the survey averaged around $178,000 while women earned about $152,000. This was the number which pointed out a 15 percent disparity in pay.

Comparisons to the U.S.

Past surveys in the U.S. of top Fortune companies show a smaller disparity in pay scales between males and female in-house lawyers, but the disparity still exists. Of the top 100 of companies, male GCs earned about just over $2,000,000 while females earned just under $2,000,000.

But immediate comparisons between the two countries can be a bit misleading -- or at least leave stuff out of the picture. U.S. studies of pay discrepancies also include the total compensation package, not just the base salary as the Canadian studies do. It's fully possible that a closer look would reveal that U.S. discrepancies are even greater than Canada's.

Forcing the Issue

Some California women attorneys working for Farmers Insurance recently and successfully managed to get a certified class of approximately 300 female litigators who are suing based on pay discrepancies. Soon afterward, Farmers settled the suit for about $5.8 million including costs. The insurance company also promised to promote the hiring of more female employers.

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