Utah lags behind the nation in terms of women’s representation in leadership positions. Though men and women aspire to hold leadership position at equivalent rates, men are almost twice as likely as women to hold a leadership position in Utah’s legal profession. Women of color face the greatest barriers to achieving leadership positions. While 47% of men hold some type of leadership role, only 4% of women of color lawyers currently hold a leadership position in Utah.
Women, my understanding is that we graduate at the same rate, go into firms and then get stunted in the paralegal position. You do the work, we’re going to go out to lunch, spitball, shoot the shit and be immature and unorganized, and you keep everything together and we’ll go ahead and take most of the pay. Women find that that’s really unfulfilling and not worth it. It’s not worth it. So those women leave.
In 2020, a majority (61%) of Utah lawyers worked in offices without any women in senior roles. Furthermore, women attorneys’ confidence in their chances for promotion has declined over time. In 2010, 57% of women were optimistic about their chances of promotion. However, by 2020, only 50% of women were satisfied with their promotion opportunities. A small proportion (6%) of women in 2020 perceived that they had lost out on opportunities for promotion because of an increased awareness regarding sexual harassment.
With regard to compensation, despite a general satisfaction, we also see that women tend to earn less on average than men in Utah’s legal profession. In 2010, the largest group of women survey respondents earned less than $40,000 a year while the majority of men earned more than $175,000 annually. Among full time attorneys, a majority of women earned less, and a majority of men earned more than $125,000 annually. In 2020, the largest group of women respondents earned between $60,000-$80,000 per year, while the largest group of men earned between $100,000-$125,000 per year. In 2020, men were more likely to be among top earners in the profession: 5% of men reported earning over $500,000 per year compared to only 1% of women.