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Part-time jobs wane for women lawyers

Some economic reports say the economic downturn has been harder on men than on women, who still are concentrated in more stable service sectors of the economy.

It depends on which service sector you mean. In law, not so much, according to a survey released earlier this week by the National Association of Women Lawyers.

Their national study of the nation’s 200 largest law firms tracks the progress of women lawyers at all levels of private practice.

The 2009 survey reports that, on average, a female equity partner earns $66,000 a year less than a male equity partner. Data also indicate that “women lawyers continue to lag significantly behind men as rainmakers in their firms, with nearly half of major law firms indicating they have no women among their top 10 rainmakers.”

Not surprisingly then, the more women rainmakers a firm has, the less of a compensation differential exists, the study says.

Times also have been tough for part-timers, the survey says. Although generally, men and women lawyers lost their jobs in numbers commensurate to their percentages as associates, counsel and income partners, women constituted nearly all of the terminated lawyers who practiced on a part-time basis.

Seventy percent of the surveyed firms employ someone with the primary responsibility to promote diversity, but there is wide variation in both staffing and approach.
By Deborah Elkins

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