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Instant Insights / Law Firms (Slowly) Improving the Associate Experience

Big Law finally has gotten the memo that keeping associates happy—at least those they want to retain—makes good business sense. For sure, long hours and demanding partners are still a major part of associate life, but firms are recognizing that paying attention to junior lawyers’ needs, whether its career development programs or more time with family, can yield benefits for everyone.

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We acknowledge that the gender pay gap has numerous causes. But the biggest cause, as found in recent studies, is motherhood. The data shows that at age 25, college-educated women make about 90 percent as much as men. But by age 45, women make only about 55 percent as much as their male counterparts.

Thus, the gap widens for many women when they have children. The kicker: Women without children often continue to earn closer to what men do.

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