Research: Female solicitors are earning 20% less than their male colleagues

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Latest Law Society stats suggest gender pay gap is still a problem within the profession


Female solicitors are earning almost 20% less than their male colleagues, according to a profession-wide survey published this week.

The Law Society — after questioning 491 lawyers currently working in private practice — discovered that male solicitors, on average, pocket an annual salary of £60,000. Meanwhile their female counterparts take home just £48,500, a pretty shocking £11,500 less than male lawyers.

These stats show female solicitors are earning 19% less than their male colleagues, and suggest there is still a major gender pay gap problem gripping the legal profession.

Examining the pay differences at various levels of seniority, the data reveals the average male associate earns £47,000, while his female equivalent earns just £42,000 — or 11% less.

Meanwhile at equity partner level, male lawyers see salaries swell to an average of £100,000, while females (who are also equity partners) pocket £80,000, a whopping £20,000 or 20% less.

Finally, at salaried partner level, the findings show male solicitors take home an average pay cheque of £70,000, while females one of £57,000 — 19% less.

Read the findings in full below:



Will Alex post both Tom’s and KK’s payslips to test this?



Tom = 3 magic beans and a smile from Alex once a week.
KK = she is allowed to charge her phone at LC once a week, and gets a daily high five from Alex.


Just Anonymous

This is only a problem if, collectively, women do the same work as men.

I haven’t read the full report. Maybe they do. However, it is striking that Thomas does not even attempt to address this issue.



If he addressed the issue he would have to admit the entire premise of the article was bullshit.


s.32, Salmon Act 1986

More to the point, if female lawyers really produce the same (or higher) volume and quality of advice as male lawyers while costing less, surely law firms would only hire female associates? Or is LC arguing that partners really aren’t that ruthlessly profit-focussed…



Lol … “if female lawyers…” shut up you misogynistic asshole


s.32, Salmon Act 1986

Ok. No offence was intended. I would appreciate some guidance.
What would be the proper PC term? Lady lawyers? Women lawyers? Lawyerettes? I’m open to suggestions.
Also, why was “female lawyers” misogynistic while “male lawyers” was ok? Or was that also wrong?
Thanks in advance.



Lawyeress, obviously.


Hatchet-faced manjaws.


This article just demonstrates the problem with statistics. They are only useful if viewed in context, asking “why?”. Yes, women may be earning less than men overall, but why is that – perhaps because more women work part time, or in less pressurised locations (e.g. in house or in the public sector)? I don’t know, but these questions should be asked.

But this analysis doesn’t fit LC’s narrative and also won’t give a clickbait headline, so I doubt it will be actioned!



Just wondering if you could expand on your ‘women working part time and in less pressurised locations’ hypothesis, and see whether any of the routes your reasoning can take you to from here mean you might be able to arrive at the conclusion that equality has been achieved.

It’s important statistics like this are reported widely so that the question of ‘why’ is asked as much as possible. The issues here are collossal – it’s pretty disingenuous to criticise a news article for not providing us with an answer to questions people have been grappling with for generations.

Idea for non-clickbait headline that may be more to your liking: ‘Research: Female solicitors are earning 20% less than their male colleagues, but in case you don’t understand how research and statistics work, we should caveat that for you that this is an average and not every solicitor in England and Wales was surveyed, and surveys are in themselves not conclusive. Before you read on please, please be aware that we cannot tell you definitively why the survey results are what they are, but we just thought there might be a possibility you might be interested, so we have presented the results here for you.’ Let’s see if LC ‘action’ that.



I’m the OP, and if you calm down I will address your points.

I’m not sure what you mean by your first paragraph, but as other posters have put more eloquently than me, it seems to be the case that women tend, generally, to be the main care givers for families, and therefore tend to work part time and in positions which enable them to leave early, as opposed to high earning City jobs, with longer hours. I also know of examples of men being the main care giver, but it is less frequent. As each person is free to make their own choice on this, would that not be equality?

On your second paragraph, the criticism was not that there was not a full exploration of the issue, rather that the article does not even try to explain the statistics and say that there could be legitimate reasons for the discrepancy. The style is simply to state that there is a discrepancy, which strikes me as a little simplistic. Again, other posters have provided a good, simple, and brief analysis of this and I see no reason why this could not have been included in the article.

Your third paragraph is just a bit silly. We all know that LC love a clickbait headline, and again it would have been more measured to have said something like “Why are women earning less on average than men?”.



Anonymous who posted at 1:55pm the fact that you said ‘if you calm down’ is sexist in itself, and saying Lucy’s third point is “just a bit silly” is patronising. That sort of language would not be used if you were replying to a male.

You are yet another example of the problem and why there is such a significant pay gap.



Prove what you said in the first paragraph, then I will take what you said seriously. How can you level such a serious allegation against someone you don’t know. Also, how do you know what gender I am?

White Male Partner

Fuck off Amy


Just Anonymous

‘Just wondering if you could [justify] the conclusion that equality has been achieved.’

Well that shifts the burden of proof does it not?

Speaking purely for myself, I don’t claim definitively there is equality. I merely say there is no reason to believe, from the evidence presented in this article, that there is inequality.



Well said



correlation =/= causation.

Female lawyers earn less then men in aggregate, but this is a yearly salary.

It is a legal obligation for an employer to pay his employees who work the same work, the same wage it’s been like this since the 70s.

There are many explanations, all which may cater for different audiences. For you who believes their is inequality, I could proffer a neat alternative.

The movement began 40 years ago, meaning that men are at a 40 year head start. Say that you start you career process at 18 (university), and you retire around 70. That is 52 years. Therefore we still in the transitioning process to an “equal” world as you perceive it. Naturally as we move onto the next generation (Another 20 years or so), the old generation of experienced mostly male lawyers, will filter out to the new equal generation of balanced female and male lawyers.

The argument is therefore, that the reason why there is a wage gap, is because at the time the process to equality began, the area was male dominant, and therefore the more older lawyers (who will also in most cases be more experienced and thus earning higher pay packets), will be a male dominant demographic.



“a whopping £20,000 or 20% less”

Great work on the calculator there TC.


Not Amused

Regulators who publish such dishonest manipulation of statistics should be punished somehow.

Absolute disgrace.



Say a woman take a year out to start a family, then she effectively has one less year of experience.

Add to this that women are more likely to be the main care-giver, reduces the ability to complete over-time, obtain bonuses etc.

At first glance the statistics have something of a shock-factor, however we must look behind them.



Spot on. These statistics deliberately don’t compare like with like in order to make a very partisan point.

Take 10 women vs 10 men. Send 2 of the women on maternity leave, 3 part time, and 4 out of the remaining 5 working for smaller firms with flexable working.

The 10 men all work full time and medium sized firms or above.

The average pay of those women vs those men? OMFG it’s 20% less!!!!!

The only way to remedy this is for their women’s salaries to be increased so that they are then earning the same as the men even though they work less at smaller firms. Sound fair?



So in your example of 10 only 1 female works full time in a big firm.

Seriously?! This is exactly why there is clearly a problem!



Oh i’m sorry, was my illustrative example not PC enough? I was referring to the calculation these figures are based on.

Bloody hell, this is why we can’t even talk about these things without people whining that even the EXAMPLES aren’t PC.



THAT’S RAYSIST!!!!!!!!!!


I wonder with the PQE pay analysis whether the individuals interviewed or the researchers factored in when people had taken a significant period of time out from their job. That will be more common with women given they can/will take up to a year out from their job for each maternity leave.



But its fair because the female solicitors play less sets on the route to the final. Oops, wrong debate.



This is such horseshit.

It is illegal to pay men and women different sums for the same work. Women are not being paid less than men for the same work. Instead, they are on average working less and holding lower positions within law firms.

Now there is an argument that women on average hold lower positions in law firms due to a sexist and female-repressive environment, for sure. There is absolutely zero argument that women are being illegally paid less for equal work at the same level.



These sort of figures are ridiculous and only work against attaining equality. Women do not earn less than their colleagues. If a man and woman are in the same job, at the same firm, at the same level, working the same amount of time, they will earn the same. It is illegal to not pay them the same.

To try and infer that men and women are not paid the same is ridiculous.

What the actual issue is women’s behaviour in general. Women are perhaps not as ambitious, not as aggressive in fighting for partnership or working for bonuses or more likely to take time off to care for children. This might be because of what society tells them or equally it may be biology. Testosterone helps a lot in being aggressive and ambitious in the workplace. These are the issues that stop women getting to the jobs which earn them top dollar, and not, as these statistics and feminist scare articles imply, unequal pay. Pay is not unequal.



*”Women are perhaps not as ambitious, not as aggressive in fighting for partnership or working for bonuses or more likely to take time off to care for children”*

Fuck off to the far side of fuck, mate.



What is wrong with that suggestion? I don’t understand…you don’t think men are more aggressive?



Oh now I understand. Thank you very much for the explanation. So men are just better at getting the better jobs. Phew I thought that people were applying simplistic stereotypes about what makes a person “better” at their job. Pleased to learn that is not the case.


Adam Deen

Economics 101.

If women were cheaper to hire then men, why don’t all firms do it? -_-


Lord Lyle of India

I once worked in a Bengali firm. When the principal was stuck for money, he didn’t pay the female staff. When they complained, he genuinely , sincerely, without any malice said “But you have your fathers and husbands to look after you. The men need the money”.

I had to have a quiet word in his ear.



The interesting thing about what you just said is that most feminists will not go after small firms in communities like that where sexism is rampant and the women too weakened or isolated to change things. These high flying, predominately white feminists, will not want to seem racist and so will keep their mouths shut on this sort of thing.



Are they also releasing a per person billing figure/money generated for the firm. Many ways of getting figures like this. You’ll find those who bill the least and earn the least for the firm get paid the least, regardless of gender


Chuckie Arlaw

If they are doing the same work, it is a wage gap not a pay gap, pay gaps include lifestyle choices, billing, number of clients, seniority as partner and so on and so on.

Suggesting women are paid less solely because they are women (and/or vice-versa) without evidence does not assist anyone.



I’m prepared to bet that with the same education, same experience, same skills, and same a achievements, it would be substantially easier for women to get the job offers in these firms in the first place.



Amen to that

I sometimes wonder if I should just fake being bi-sexual with all these “affirmative action” schemes.



People only get vehemently offended about the testosterone thang because it’s true.


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