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On the heels of the momentous #MeToo movement, some lawyers might be wondering if now is the time to start a pay equity practice to help fight to close the gender pay gap.
After all, given the dismal statistics that get thrown around, gender pay discrimination cases should sound like shooting fish in a barrel. And for lawyers already in the employment law sector, or those looking to break into it, focusing on pay equity could hit the right niche at the right time.
The Time and Place Is Here and Now
Being in the right place at the right time is probably one of the most profitable things a lawyer can do. It's also one of the hardest things to do because you can't predict when and where that time and place will be. But it is abundantly clear that the time and place for fighting gender pay discrimination practices is upon us.
Women are coming forward to share their stories in record numbers, and new laws supporting equal pay are being passed, so the time is certainly right. The big question is whether or not you can position your firm in the right place to get the clients you need to develop that practice area for your firm.
Budgeting Time and Money
Generally, pursuing a gender pay discrimination case proceeds like any other discrimination case that relies on numbers and justifications for those numbers. You'll likely need to budget between at least $5,000 to $10,000 (if not $15,000 or more), and roughly a few hundred hours, just to get through discovery and to trial. But, unlike most employment discrimination cases, a pay equity case may not necessarily involve a wrongful termination claim, so your client may still be employed and actually able to pay costs.
More Like Grabbing Fish
If you've never sued an employer in an employment law case, then you should know that it's usually more like grabbing fish in a barrel. Sure, it's doable, but employers are slippery and certainly know how to back up decisions with paper, logic, and legal compliance.