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02 March 2018 at 12:06 BST

Female chief legal officers earn 26 per cent less globally than male counterparts

Women are being short-changed at the top of corporate legal departments, other than in the US.

Leo Lintang

According to the research from Acritas, men working in senior in-house legal positions are typically paid 26 per cent more than their female counterparts around the world in key geographic markets. Only female chief legal officers in the US earn the same as their male peers.  Furthermore, females are under-represented in the highest paid sectors. The survey reveals there are few women in the most lucrative end of the marketplace - the over-50s age group and higher-paying sectors such as pharmaceuticals and energy.They are, however, over-represented in other industries offering below-average remuneration such as technology, media and telecommunications and the public sector.

Not surprising

Lisa Hart Shepherd, CEO at Acritas commented: 'The difference in salary levels globally is perhaps not surprising, given the same issue exists in many other industries. 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.'

Private practice 

The survey also reveals that in-house counsel earn considerably less than partners in private practice. It compared the remuneration of chief legal roles with that of partners in law firms through its Acritas Stars data of approximately 8000 client-nominated stand-out lawyers, over 900 of whom have provided their remuneration data as part of the annual Stars survey. The analysis revealed, consistent with other similar studies, that in-house counsel are earning considerably less than their counterparts in private practice. Ms Hart Shepherd added: '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.


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