• Fern Lee

One thing we can do now to close the gender pay gap in law firms



It seems hopeless to think that the gender pay gap will close. After all, it is mostly men who run law firms and they decide on promotion and pay.


But as women, we can help close the gender pay gap for ourselves, and with enough of us taking action, we can do it for our industry.


There is one thing we can do that could easily close the gap.


We can ASK for more money.


We can close the gender pay gap by demanding what's due to us. We can ask for more money.


How do we do this?


Don't accept the first offer that you are given. Men love to negotiate. Even if they think that the amount offered to them is sufficient, they will still negotiate.


So even if you think you won't get more, negotiate anyway. You never know.


When I was a first-year practicing lawyer, I didn't get a pay raise or a bonus when my other colleagues did. The reason my boss gave me was that I had joined halfway through the year and I hadn't worked enough to warrant a pay raise or bonus.


I saw his logic but I also felt mad. I felt that I had worked hard during the year, and even if they didn't give me a full pay raise or bonus, wasn't I entitled to some sort of increase in salary to reflect their appreciation?


I was nervous but I plucked up the courage to have that conversation. I chose my timing and planned my speech. I said that if he appreciated what I did, he would show it with more money. After all, words are cheap. An increase would show that he meant it.


Afterward, I was terrified that I had made him mad. I didn't realize that the worse he could do was say no. And you know what? He said yes to not just a partial increase. He gave me the full pay raise and bonus my other colleagues got.


I did not expect the full amount. The most I had hoped for (and would have been happy with) was maybe half.


You never know if you will get it, so why not ask? What's the worse that can happen? They say no.


By asking for that pay raise and demanding your just dues, you are also closing the gender pay gap for everyone else. If more of us asked for our just dues, then the bosses can't ignore us. There is a shortage of labor and not enough bodies to do the work. Getting rid of us all is not an option.


If we all kept on demanding our just dues, we will make light work of closing that pay gap.





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