Size firm matters for lawyers salary - July 29, 2009

Picking a larger company makes sense for lawyers, since typically larger firms pay more, shows a salary comparison for ten countries at the WageIndicator. The gender gap between lawyers is relatively low and in some countries - Belgium and the Netherlands - female lawyers even earn more than their male colleagues. A reversed gender gap is not often seen, but seems to be emerging in some occupations.

Experience does count too, although it is appreciated differently in different countries and regions.

We compared gender, size of the company (less than 50 people, more than 500) and experience (two or twenty years). We assumed that differences in education would not be huge, while most lawyers also have a supervisory position, even when then only have one assistant. Results for European countries (UK, West Germany, East Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain) were pretty conclusive, because of the relative high number of lawyers who have filled in the national surveys. That was also the case for Brazil. Less surveys were available for Argentina, Mexico and Russia, so we could only investigate the gender difference in those countries.

The differences
The difference in pay between genders seldom went further than 10 percent. Experience counted heavily in the UK and Belgium, where experienced lawyers could sometimes earn more than 50 percent more compared to their younger colleagues. In Germany and the Netherlands experience was much less appreciated, while the difference in Spain was in between with about 30 percent difference.

The size of the firm counted in Belgium mainly for the experienced lawyers, while in the UK and Brazil the differences in the size of the firms were relatively large for all lawyers. In Germany and the Netherlands differences between different categories were lower anyway, but also here the size of the firm was an important factor.

Differences between countries
While we often see the US as a country where the streets are paved with lawyers, for the first time in these comparisons we saw that US lawyers - we only have their average hourly income for lawyers in Washington here - could not match all the lawyers in Europe. The experienced European lawyers with the larger firms earned more in especially the UK, but also in West Germany, Belgium and the female lawyers in the Netherlands. Spain was paying on a much lower level. Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and Russia were at a lower level, although between them Brazil with earning up to 11 euro was doing very well in Latin America.
salaries lawyers 2009
(small company: less than 50 employees; large company: more than 500 employees)

Earlier we compared salaries of  PR-managers, economists, truck drivers, and nurses. 

Please note that these figures were collected in July 2009 according to very specific profiles of lawyers. For your own salary, please visit the WageIndicator of your country.

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