Profession-wide commitment needed to achieve pay equity in the law


The Law Society of NSW has developed a resource to assist the legal profession to address persistent pay gaps between male and female solicitors across the whole career cycle.

President of the Law Society Cassandra Banks said the resource, to be launched by Sex Discrimination Commissioner Anna Cody this evening, presents a ten point plan for law firms to reduce and aim to eliminate pay gaps evident in the profession.

“The NSW profession struck gender balance in 2016 and since then women have made up the majority of solicitors in the state. This numerical advantage hasn’t translated to equal pay, prompting the Law Society to work with signatories to our Charter for the Advancement of Women and other leading firms to develop the resource, Equitable remuneration in the legal profession,” Ms Banks said.

“I’m confident this resource will provide practice leaders with useful tools to enable them to develop and encourage their legal talent while taking advantage of the value and business imperative that gender equal workplaces represent.”

The resource encourages firms to:

  1. Analyse pay gaps
  2. Create a Gender Action Plan
  3. Examine billing structures
  4. Increase pay transparency
  5. Ensure that flexible working arrangement don’t negatively impact women’s advancement
  6. Have a robust lateral recruitment strategy
  7. Be aware of confidence gaps
  8. Prioritise intersectionality
  9. Use sponsorship to support progression
  10. Collaborate with clients in equality initiatives

The 2022 Annual Profile of Solicitors in NSW, published at the end of the 2022-23 financial year, revealed for the third year in a row that nine percent fewer women than men in the profession earn more than $150,000.

Ms Banks emphasised that many firms and legal practices across NSW have already been doing important work to embed diversity and inclusion in their operations.

“These practices know the benefits of supporting all their talent. However, it is clear that as a profession, we need to maintain a focus on this work, including gender equality, as a matter of priority. Equitable remuneration will not be achieved without commitment and deliberate actions across the profession,” Ms Banks said.

“At the beginning of my term as President of the Law Society, I identified as one of my priorities the need to strengthen the legal profession, including gender equity for career advancement. I am thankful for the work of the Law Society’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee for producing an excellent document that delivers on that priority.”

Ms Banks also thanked other members of the profession who participated in this project for their contribution to helping to make the legal profession a career of choice for those individuals who want to make meaningful contributions to their communities as lawyers.

Damien Smith | Director, Media and Public Relations
The Law Society of New South Wales

M: +61 417 788 947 | E: