Few occupations in San Francisco have as large a gender pay gap as the legal industry, the civic data analytics company LiveStories reported this week. And the inequality is growing.
Male median earnings for legal positions in San Francisco increased by almost $2,000 between 2010 and 2015, while female median earnings fell by $4,000 during that same period, according to the report. Women in the city’s legal workforce now make 68 cents for every dollar that men earn.
“San Francisco’s gender pay gap is slightly better than the United States as a whole, and during the past decade, the gap has improved for a few occupations,” LiveStories said. “But for San Francisco’s legal occupations, men have reaped a dramatic increase in pay over the last decade that women have not shared.”
The report drew its data from the American Community Survey, a U.S. Census Bureau project that gathers information from about 3.5 million households per year. The job titles that the survey defines as “legal occupations” include arbitrators, mediators and conciliators; court reporters; judges and hearing officers; lawyers; and paralegals and legal assistants. (The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics looks at the same cohort each month for its federal jobs numbers.)
LiveStories, a Seattle-based company founded in 2013 that raised $10 million in financing over the summer to further its efforts analyzing civic data, saw its findings echo those of a national survey released last year by the legal recruiting firm Major, Lindsey & Africa. The latter found that female partners at large law firms made an average of 69 cents for each dollar earned by men in similar roles.
And while the plight of women in Big Law has been increasingly well-chronicled across different practice areas, as well as resulting in a spate of suits against large firms, the pay equity debate has also now moved to the in-house arena.
Another report released in June by the Association of Corporate Counsel revealed “a dramatic picture of gender pay disparity” for women in-house lawyers. The ACC study noted that many male colleagues of those women tended to not believe that such a pay gap exists.