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ABA launches gender pay equality initiative

Association’s toolkit helps bar groups organize conferences about the topic

The American Bar Association (ABA) is rolling out a new program designed to level compensation among men and women law firm lawyers.

On Friday, the association announced that its president, Laurel Bellows, and its Gender Equality Task Force has created a toolkit that will help state and local bar groups organize conferences about gender-pay equality. The free toolkit, which is available through the ABA’s website, includes a program agenda, PowerPoint slideshow and handout materials. The toolkit also will eventually provide suggestions and contact information for conference keynote speakers.

According to the ABA, women equity partners at the 200 largest firms earn a median of 89 percent of what their male peers earn.

“Unequal compensation diminishes women’s prospects for success and unfairly undervalues the material contributions of women to their firms,” Bellows said in a press release. “Plus, pay inequities have a profound effect on a firm’s performance and profits. The ABA has long been committed to equality. We are committed to ensuring that women and men in our profession share the same opportunities and rewards. Inequity in compensation is a problem that we can and must fix.”

Legal experts told Thomson Reuters that in order to boost pay equality, law firms could consider requiring a specific number of women to be included on executive or compensation committees and incentivizing partners to mentor young women lawyers.

For more InsideCounsel stories about women in law, read:

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Do you work with a law firm partner or general counsel who is committed to advancing the empowerment of women in law? Nominate him or her for a Transformative Leadership Award. Nominations for the TLA West Awards are open through June 30.

Ashley Post

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