The Gender Pay Gap and High-Achieving Women in the Legal Profession Academic Article uri icon


  • Although women have made significant strides in the legal profession, female attorneys continue to earn far less than male attorneys. Relying on survey data from a large sample of full-time attorneys in Texas, we find a gender pay gap of thirty-five thousand dollars at the median that cannot be explained by differences in human capital or occupational segregation. We also provide evidence that the legal market especially disadvantages women who excel in law school. Whereas high academic achievement boosts male lawyers incomes substantially, it does not have the same effect on female lawyers incomes. High-achieving female lawyers earn less than high-achieving male lawyers across practice settings and earn less than their lower-achieving male counterparts in private practice. We conclude that discrimination in the legal profession operates partly by devaluing female attorneys human capital, such that sterling academic credentials and other traits that are valued in men are far less valued in women.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 1

author list (cited authors)

  • Markovic, M., & Plickert, G.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Markovic, Milan||Plickert, Gabriele

publication date

  • May 2023