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Reduce outside counsel fees – hire female partners

The 2007 ALM Research Survey Report on Billing Rates & Practices summarizes data from 5,058 law-firm respondents. About a third of those respondents were solo practices, 58 percent were from firms of 2 to 39 attorneys (“small firms”) and 10 percent practice in firms of 40 to 170 attorneys (“mid-size firms”). At page 1 of the Executive Summary the report states that “female attorneys, on average, tend to bill at lower hourly rates than male attorneys, regardless of firm size, years in practice, geography, and – with a few exceptions – practice area.”

An odd and disturbing finding, which is hard to explain. Maybe it is that women lawyers are less greedy, or they are not as tough negotiators, or they are less egotistical? I do not want to be strung up by feminists, so I am only speculating on what might account for the inexplicable disparity between the sexes. Perhaps there is still an old-boys network that favors male lawyers in firms? Perhaps the methodology of the survey skewed the results?