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Female lawyers take a firmer stand

Posted By Administration, Friday, June 26, 2015


Sitting in her attorney's conference room the other day, Lynne Coates had a strained look on her face. A trial lawyer who used to work for Farmers Insurance, Coates was pressed for time because she was due in court.

Also, the story she was about to tell me was painful to recount.

In 1993, Coates was hired by Farmers Insurance, which employs hundreds of attorneys to battle claims. She spent five years there before leaving for another job. In 2010, she returned to Farmers, and spent four happy years in its San Jose office.

Her job satisfaction changed abruptly one day when she discovered by accident that she was earning less money than a male attorney in her office with less experience.

“It was just sort of an off-the-cuff remark that one of my male colleagues made one day when we found out there was going to be a management change in my office,” Coates, 49, said. “He said, ‘Oh, yeah, I could stay here and continue to make X every year.' At that point, my head started spinning.”

She earned $99,000. His pay was $102,000. Not a huge difference, until you take into account that Coates had many years more experience.

“After that,” she said, “I got nosy.”

Read the whole story at LA Times

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