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Headed in-house? Check the pay scale

“So I told him that if he wanted a third child, someone was going to have to go in-house.”
A female lawyer to her colleague, overheard at a Virginia Bar Association meeting

The dream of a more manageable schedule for family may send some women lawyers – or their lawyer partners – into corporate counsel jobs. But a pay disparity persists for women working in-house, when compared to their male counterparts, according to a recent salary survey of nine job categories in U.S. corporate legal departments.

For top level managers in law departments, the pay differential among men and woman was the highest, particularly in bonuses, which were about 40 percent lower for women, according to the survey released on Aug. 22 by ALM Legal Intelligence.

At the managing attorney level down to non-management positions, there was less of a disparity, with median salary, bonus and total compensation figures for women about par for that of men, the survey reported. And in two cases, Senior Attorney and Attorney, female attorneys were compensated at a 7-10 percent higher rate than their male counterparts in corporate legal shops.

For $999, the complete Law Department Compensation Benchmarking Survey is available here.

Resources on the fair pay issue also are available through the Gender Equity Task Force of the American Bar Association. Last spring, top corporate lawyers met for a summit that featured networking by senior women in-house counsel on how to advance in their respective companies, and how to see that female outside counsel get fair credit for their rainmaking abilities.
-Deborah Elkins

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