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In one elite industry, the pay gap for women is more than double the national average

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The compensation gap between female and male partners at law firms in the U.S. is 44 percent.

That's according to the most recent compensation survey of big law firm partners by the legal search firm Major, Lindsey & Africa, which came out this week.

More broadly, women in the U.S. are paid 20.4 percent less than their male counterparts, according to the most recent data available from The Institute for Women's Policy Research.

Female partners at big law firms make, on average, $659,000. Meanwhile, male partners make, on average, $949,000, according to the survey results, which are the fourth in a series from Major, Lindsey & Africa. Almost 77,000 law firm partners were sent surveys and about 2,100 partners in the U.S. responded.

Partners at big law firms are doing well across the board. The average salary for partners, both men and women, is $877,000, up 22 percent from only a couple years ago, when the average was $716,000.

That's far greater than the average middle class salary, which is a smidge over $24,000.

Still, men make more, and part of the reason why is because they bring in more business, according to the survey. Male partners brought in an average of $2,590,000 in business per year, compared to the $1,730,000 brought in by female partners.

Another much cited reason? Bias. One quarter of survey respondents reported that the lack of equal compensation was a result of cronyism.

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