ABA Releases Toolkit to Address Gender Pay Gap in Legal Profession

CHICAGO, March 15, 2013 — ABA President Laurel Bellows and the _’s Gender Equity Task Force have introduced an innovative new tool in the fight for gender equity in the legal profession.

The ABA’s Toolkit for Gender Equity in Partner Compensation is the first in a series of projects that aims to provide specific tools law firms can use to eliminate pay differences between male and female lawyers. The toolkit focuses primarily on abolishing inequities at the partner level to first facilitate change where the greatest pay disparity exists. At the median, women equity partners at the 200 largest law firms earn 89 percent of the compensation earned by their male peers.

“Unequal compensation diminishes women’s prospects for success and unfairly undervalues the material contributions of women to their firms. Plus, pay inequities have a profound effect on a firm’s performance and profits,” Bellows said. “The ABA has long been committed to equality. We are committed to ensuring that women and men in our profession share the same opportunities and rewards. Inequity in compensation is a problem that we can and must fix.”

The toolkit will be distributed to law firms and bar associations across the country to launch a dialogue about fair and transparent compensation systems for partners. The toolkit contains all the necessary tools to conduct a summit on this issue.

Ultimately, the toolkit seeks to increase awareness about gender pay inequity and its impacts and train law firm leaders to recognize biases that affect the accuracy of compensation decisions. Law firm leaders will also be encouraged to give fair and appropriate credit for all components of firm revenue and activity; select diverse members for compensation committees; and train compensation decision-makers on implicit bias.

The toolkit is available online here. To learn more about the ABA’s work on gender equity, check out the ABA Gender Equity Task Force on Facebook, or follow the task force on Twitter at @ABAGenderEquity.

Please click here for a biography and photo of Laurel G. Bellows, president of the _.

With nearly 400,000 members, the _ is one of the largest voluntary professional membership organizations in the world.  As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.