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G&M: Wage gap between male, female equity partners at top law firm averages $371,596


Hitman9172

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Hitman9172
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Seen this mentioned in a few other threads so thought I’d start a main one (mods feel free to delete/splice this if there’s an existing thread). Article about the gender pay at Blakes from the Globe and Mail today: https://www.google.ca/amp/s/www.theglobeandmail.com/amp/canada/article-wage-gap-between-male-female-equity-partners-at-top-law-firm-averages/

 

 

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QueensDenning
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There was already a thread on this on the other forum (RIP). But to start some controversy: most Bay street firms reward (financially) the ones who bring in business. Seeing as the top earners at these firms come from a generation where women were largely shut out of the profession, it's incredibly unsurprising that there is a large pay gap, on average, between females and males at the equity partnership level at this time. I don't really see that as an issue, or newsworthy, since firms are working diligently to include more women at the associate level (look at the articling gender split, basically 50/50 at all the big firms), which will - in time - naturally diminish the discrepancy between the genders. Another thought that comes to mind is lifestyle choices - I would bet that women, on average, spend more time with their families and away from work than men (and consequently, ON AVERAGE, bring in less business, leading to a smaller share of the pie come profit split time). I'm sure there is some level of sexism at play, but to compare average comp at the equity level = sexism is, IMO, a simplistic view of the numbers. And let's not forget that all of these partners are making a killing at the end of the day.

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BlockedQuebecois
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52 minutes ago, QueensDenning said:

There was already a thread on this on the other forum (RIP). But to start some controversy: most Bay street firms reward (financially) the ones who bring in business. Seeing as the top earners at these firms come from a generation where women were largely shut out of the profession, it's incredibly unsurprising that there is a large pay gap, on average, between females and males at the equity partnership level at this time. I don't really see that as an issue, or newsworthy, since firms are working diligently to include more women at the associate level (look at the articling gender split, basically 50/50 at all the big firms), which will - in time - naturally diminish the discrepancy between the genders. Another thought that comes to mind is lifestyle choices - I would bet that women, on average, spend more time with their families and away from work than men (and consequently, ON AVERAGE, bring in less business, leading to a smaller share of the pie come profit split time). I'm sure there is some level of sexism at play, but to compare average comp at the equity level = sexism is, IMO, a simplistic view of the numbers. And let's not forget that all of these partners are making a killing at the end of the day.

Tell me you didn’t read the article without telling me you didn’t read the article. 

If you’re trying to stir up controversy, you probably shouldn’t just paraphrase what the managing partner of the firm told the G&M in the article you’re responding to. 

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CleanHands
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The fact that people in the legal field consider this some huge issue shows how out-of-touch and insular the profession is. That's all I have to say about this because it's more commentary than it deserves already.

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C_Terror
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54 minutes ago, CleanHands said:

The fact that people in the legal field consider this some huge issue shows how out-of-touch and insular the profession is. That's all I have to say about this because it's more commentary than it deserves already.

Probably a bigger deal that the veil that is Bay St. partner comp parted a little and us peons saw a slight glimpse of how much a Sister partner makes on average.

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PePeHalpert
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2 hours ago, QueensDenning said:

Another thought that comes to mind is lifestyle choices - I would bet that women, on average, spend more time with their families and away from work than men (and consequently, ON AVERAGE, bring in less business, leading to a smaller share of the pie come profit split time). I'm sure there is some level of sexism at play, but to compare average comp at the equity level = sexism is, IMO, a simplistic view of the numbers. And let's not forget that all of these partners are making a killing at the end of the day.

Are you suggesting that the role of women as the primary caregivers is a factor indicating that the wage gap is not the result of sexism?  Also, to call that a lifestyle choice really ignores centuries of systemic sexism that we have only recently started to correct.

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QueensDenning
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1 hour ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

Tell me you didn’t read the article without telling me you didn’t read the article. 

If you’re trying to stir up controversy, you probably shouldn’t just paraphrase what the managing partner of the firm told the G&M in the article you’re responding to. 

I didn’t re-read it, I read it when it was released. 

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Rashabon
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27 minutes ago, QueensDenning said:

I didn’t re-read it, I read it when it was released. 

No you didn't.

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tails
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I think a lot of the disinterest in a discussion on this is that *obviously* these woman come from a place of privilege. The fact that the gap is in the $300k range is obviously not lost on them. The article discusses a lot of their discomfort bringing this up given they come from that privilege. 
 

That being said, these privileges may not trickle down, but the inequity does. Trying to bring ‘lifestyle’ choices into this is exactly the inequity that will impact all women and the fight for equality. 

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epeeist
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1 hour ago, tails said:

I think a lot of the disinterest in a discussion on this is that *obviously* these woman come from a place of privilege. The fact that the gap is in the $300k range is obviously not lost on them. The article discusses a lot of their discomfort bringing this up given they come from that privilege. 
 

That being said, these privileges may not trickle down, but the inequity does. Trying to bring ‘lifestyle’ choices into this is exactly the inequity that will impact all women and the fight for equality. 

[emphasis added]

While it has been years since I've been at a law firm, it did seem to me (anecdotally, as a male observer and having had a few discussions with women colleagues) that non-lawyer women got treated a bit differently from non-lawyer men. I don't mean anything as blatant as harassment, more subtle and impressionistic; but bolstering this perspective and to give just one example multiple women lawyers I asked about why they didn't dress casually on casual Fridays said it was either because they'd been mistaken as being non-lawyers in the past, when dressed casually, or didn't want to risk not being perceived as professional by others (especially more senior lawyers).

To me, it seems that if the attitude towards non-lawyer women (moreso than non-lawyer men) at a firm is that problematic (and again, nothing blatantly obvious), that speaks both to the attitude towards women generally, as well as women being held to (or believing they are being held to) a higher standard of always being "on" than men are. I'm assuming it's not a more generalized gender preference about choosing how to look because non-lawyer women didn't seem to have concerns about dressing more casually.

That aside, back to the story, it sounds like the concern is not differences in compensation due to genuinely objective measurable metrics like billable hours, but more subtle factors that may be real but are harder to prove, like women who do a lot of work on a file (but didn't bring the client in) being given less credit in compensation discussions for client retention than a man in a similar situation (i.e. didn't bring in client but does most of the work).

To give fictitious dialogue illustrating the hypothesized difference in case my point is unclear:

Case A: "John didn't bring in megaclient, but does most of the work on the file and the client seems happy, we should recognize his important role in retaining megaclient at our firm, not just Jack who brought in the client originally"

Case B: "Jane didn't bring in megaclient, Jack brought them in originally and I think they remain here due to the ongoing connection they have with Jack, even though Jane does most of the work, Jack's the face of the firm to them and anyone could fulfill Jane's role so she's not doing anything above and beyond here."

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  • 3 weeks later...
Cityslicker
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Was pretty surprised to see the avg Blakes partner makes 1.4 mil. Anyone have an idea what the range of compensation (including bonus) is for counsel at big firms/7 sisters?? 

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BlockedQuebecois
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Most of the seven sisters primarily use "Counsel" for older lawyers who no longer wish to be partners (or who can't be partners per the firm's retirement policy) or people who have a lot of experience outside of private practice but that the firm isn't ready to let into the partnership. McCarthys and Torys are the two outliers, with McCarthy's having a ton of counsel. 

For the five that use "counsel" sparingly, their compensation is going to be so individualized that getting a range is more or less useless. The firm might be paying one counsel over $1,500,000 because they still drive business while paying another a few hundred thousand because they advise on a handful of complex tax issues but otherwise are out golfing most of the year

For the two that don't it will depend on how they use "counsel". My understanding is Torys generally uses the term counsel for people who are taking another crack at partnership, so they'll be north of senior associate pay but well south of partner pay for their group. I have no clue why McCarthys has so many lawyers designated as counsel, and similarly have no clue what they would pay them all.

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