Of some 700 female lawyers surveyed, more than half of equity partners and two-thirds of income and minority partners say they are dissatisfied with the way compensation was determined at their firms—compared to nearly three-quarters of men who reported high levels of satisfaction with those systems, according to an earlier study. Complaints include a lack of diversity within compensation committees, a lack of wage transparency, and too much weight given to factors such as billable hours and too little to institutional investments like developing a firm’s human capital and nurturing young associates.
Female lawyers also reported being stymied by the “double bind,” saying that for women it’s virtually impossible to be simultaneously respected and well-liked. “You must engage in self-promotion but you’re penalized for doing so if you’re a woman,” says Joan Williams, a professor at UC’s Hastings College of the Law and an author of the report. But Williams says that she was perhaps most surprised by the fact that the survey respondents were so incensed by their experiences at work, which was made clear through comments they submitted online. “The anger comes from the fact that they see these patterns of gender bias, double standards, and double binds in their everyday lives.”