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Should I Stay or Should I Go? Gender Gaps in the Lateral Market for SEC Lawyers

58 Pages Posted: 8 Jul 2015 Last revised: 29 Sep 2017

Stephen J. Choi

New York University School of Law

G. Mitu Gulati

Duke University School of Law

Adam C. Pritchard

University of Michigan Law School

Date Written: September 26, 2017

Abstract

The gender gap in gaining promotion to partnership in elite law firms is well known. Less is known about the role that gender plays in the market for laterals and particularly moves from the public sector into the private one. This article examines gender differences in lateral moves out of one elite public sector job setting, the Enforcement Division of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Using data on the career paths of enforcement attorneys from 2004 to 2016, we find the following: First, gender gaps in pay and promotion at the SEC appear to be minimal, if any. That said, there are significant differences in the types of assignments that male and female lawyers receive, with male lawyers receiving a disproportionate share of the higher profile and more complex cases. Second, male lawyers are much more likely than their female counterparts to move laterally; and when they do, they are more likely than the women to move to lucrative private sector jobs. Women are more likely to move to other government positions or to the non-profit sector.

Keywords: SEC Enforcement; lawyers; gender

JEL Classification: J44, K22

Suggested Citation

Choi, Stephen J. and Gulati, G. Mitu and Pritchard, Adam C., Should I Stay or Should I Go? Gender Gaps in the Lateral Market for SEC Lawyers (September 26, 2017). NYU Law and Economics Research Paper No. 17-07; U of Michigan Law & Econ Research Paper No. 16-036. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2627758 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2627758

Stephen J. Choi

New York University School of Law ( email )

40 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012-1099
United States

Gaurang Mitu Gulati

Duke University School of Law ( email )

210 Science Drive
Box 90362
Durham, NC 27708
United States

Adam C. Pritchard (Contact Author)

University of Michigan Law School ( email )

625 South State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1215
United States
734-647-4048 (Phone)
734-647-7349 (Fax)

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