Legal consultant urges female lawyers to demand higher salaries

20 June 2018 2 min. read

Female lawyers should strike while the #MeToo iron is hot and demand higher salaries, a leading legal consultant has suggested. Kent Zimmermann, a Principal at management consultancy the Zeughauser Group, made the remarks in support of gender diversity as evidence mounts that teams with an even male/female balance tend to outperform others.

The Zeughauser Group is a management consulting firm with a specialized focus on the legal profession. With offices around the country, Zeughauser counts eight out of the top ten law firms by revenue in the US as clients. Services range from M&A advice, to organizational consulting, leadership development, and performance optimization.

Chicago-based Kent Zimmerman is a Principal at the firm and a former CEO and general counsel who advises clients on due diligence, mergers, and candidate firms, as well as drawing up strategic plans and conducting research. Zimmerman recently voiced his support for some of the leading women in the legal field who have urged top female lawyers to demand more money and a position in the corporate power structure.

Clients of major law firms are now seeing the value in having a legal team represent them which is itself diverse. It’s not just a matter of ticking boxes and appearing in the right light – research has repeatedly shown that balanced teams, both in the broader private sector and in the legal field, perform better than those skewed largely male or female.

Legal consultancy urges female lawyers to demand higher salaries

Coupled with the impact of #MeToo, which has seen countless women – whether media professionals or university students – speak out against unwanted male attention, capable, qualified and highly experienced female lawyers are now in serious demand. There is also a dearth of female lawyers at the top of the food chain as women are more likely than men to leave the profession early.

What this means, argues Zimmerman, is that senior female lawyers have a unique opportunity to command higher salaries in the kind of secretive pay discussions that have been the subject of recent debate over the proposed gender pay gap. “It’s a perfect storm in a good way,” he said. “It’s a heightened environment because of #MeToo. I think firms are understanding gender diversity is the right thing to do.”

Senior female consultants can be expected to follow suit, if they aren’t already. Much like sustainability, consultancies have jumped on the diversity bandwagon and advise clients to do the same. PwC recently helped launched a gender equality educational program, while Accenture raised eyebrows with its pledge to enforce a staff ratio of 50% men and 50% women by 2025.