April 12 is Equal Pay Day – the day that women’s 2015 earnings equal that of what men were paid last year. Lawyers are no exception to the pay gap. According to a U.S. Census Bureau report, median pay for full-time female lawyers was 77.4 percent of the pay earned by their male counterparts, the ABA Journal reported.
Women lawyers are subject to the same pay gap that women in other professions face, says Dallas Women Lawyers AssociationPresident Angela Zambrano. Given the fact that law school is no less expensive for women than it is for men, that pay gap must end. It can’t just be incumbent on women lawyers to ‘be better negotiators’ or demand higher pay, she says. Employers hold the purse strings, so they need to make special efforts to ensure that their male and female lawyers are being judged – and compensated – by the same yardstick. I do not believe that any individual working for an employer wants his or her daughter or wife earning less than her male colleagues for doing the same work. But having these issues top of mind in the compensation process can prevent creating unintentional wage disparities. We can fix this issue in one generation with right-thinking employers.