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What the partner pay gap tells us about bias

Joan C. Williams and Marina Multhaup writes, "A recent national survey of law firm partners revealed an astonishing 44 percent gender wage gap between male and female partners. This huge pay differential has been attributed — both by the survey's author and by many in the media — to origination credit, the measure of how much business partners bring into their firms.

According to the survey, male partners reported 50 percent higher average originations than female partners. But the fact that women report lower origination credit is often the result of gender bias. 

HOW BIAS EFFECTS PRACTICE

1: The study finds, unsurprisingly, that equity partners originate more. The study does not break down the gender of equity partners in its sample, but in most law firms, relatively few women are equity partners. Studies document how bias creates difficulties for women to advance to partnership: women don't have the same access to networks and sponsors, and men are admitted to partnership based on business-development potential whereas women have to actually have the clients in hand. "

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