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REPORT: Being a Lawyer Pays for Women in 2013

Being a Lawyer Pays for Women in 2013

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you already know that right now is a good time to go to law school–there are more scholarships available then ever, fewer people are applying so your chances of getting a good offer from your top choice school is better than ever, and once you graduate, you’ll have less competition for plum jobs.

That’s good news for every law student. But if you’re a woman, the news gets even better: According to a recently released study conducted by Forbes, attorney jobs rank among the best-paying jobs for women.

The study, which was released in February, found that women lawyers make an approximate median salary of $85,000. The only two other professions that will earn more this year are pharmacists (whose median salary is about $97,500) and chief executive officers (who pull in about $90,000 a year).

It’s also ahead of physicians, surgeons and computer developers.

Yes, right now is a good time to be a woman in law school, and it’s a good time to be a woman who is a lawyer. And all indicators suggest this will continue to be true.

Believe it or not, it wasn’t that long ago that most law schools were devoid of women–as students or professors. As recently as 40 years ago, the few women who did go to law school basically had two options once they graduated: join the “typing pool” at a law firm or strike out on their own.

Luckily, things are changing. Today, women make up about 50 percent of all law school students in the U.S., according to the American Bar Association. ┬áMost firms–large and small–are committed to increasing the diversity of their attorneys and actively recruit and hire women. And as you just read, women lawyers can make a pretty good living (and it doesn’t even require learning to 10-key—how about that?).

But there is still a ways to go. Only about 6.5 percent of all partners at the country’s largest law firms are women. And that median salary of $85,000? It’s still only about 80 percent of what male attorneys make.

So there’s still work to do before equality can be claimed. But there’s also progress, and all the major players in the profession (large firms, judges, the ABA) are committed to continuing to improve.

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