Acritas has released a new report which indicates that American women holding in-house chief legal roles can expect to earn the same as their male colleagues. It is a different story globally, however, with the findings showing that men are earning 26 per cent more than their women peers on the international stage.
The report considered remuneration for chief legal roles and how the pay figure differed depending on industry, country, size of business and legal spend.
Acritas CEO Lisa Hart Shepherd said that although the global trend identified in the report was to be expected, the US market was to be commended for leading by example. She added that in law, a profession supposed to be dedicated to principles such as fairness and equality, the 26 per cent pay gap was unacceptable.
“The difference in salary levels globally is perhaps not surprising, given the same issue exists in many other industries,” Ms Hart Shepherd said.
“However, for a profession which is based on ensuring fairness and equal treatment, any gulf in reward levels seems disappointing.”
“Our results show the US legal sector is offering compensation parity. That must give much-needed hope to their peers in countries still lagging behind in terms of gender equality.”
The Acritas findings were based on interviews of over 2,000 senior legal buyers from international organisations and with a revenue of $1 billion-plus. The report also compared income differences according to age and gender.
The Sharplegal data was considered alongside an Acritas database of 900 standout private practice lawyers to compare the remuneration of chief legal roles with that of partners in law firms.
Ms Hart Shepherd added that the new report findings are consistent with other similar studies that show in-house counsel are earning considerably less than their counterparts in private practice.
“Even taking into account the fact that Acritas Stars are likely to be above-average earners within their firms, the difference is striking across all regions and demographic breaks,” she said.
The report went on to note that compared against other industries, law is no exception when it comes to equal pay between men and women.
“As in so many occupations, it seems women are being short-changed at the top of corporate legal departments,” Acritas said of the global trend for in-house counsel.
“Women are under-represented in the highest paid, over-50s age group and in some higher paying sectors such as Pharmaceuticals and Energy, while being over-represented in other industries offering below-average remuneration such as Technology, Media and Telecommunications and the public sector.”