Friday, November 3, 2006

Lawyer Career Tracks, Disparities, and Other Stats in Western PA

Over on Empirical Legal Studies blog, William Henderson (Indiana) posted this interesting summary of the Allegheny County Bar Association's comprehensive study and survey of its members.  It echoes some great earlier work with data sets from Chicago lawyers and both University of Michigan and Indiana law grads.  He notes that "[s]ome of the most significant findings involve large gender disparities."  A few highlights, quoted or paraphrased from his post:

  • Education. Fully 38% of respondents attended the two local Pittsburgh law schools (Pitt and Duquesne).
  • First employment. The most common first employment was at a smaller firm, though women were more likely to start at larger firms (consistent with earlier findings from above studies).
  • Fulltime or part-time. 87.5% of the members work full-time; 7.9% part-time (women are twice as likely to be part-time); 4.7% not currently employed.
  • Practice setting. Women are more likely to start in private practice, but also more likely to eventually move into a non-private practice setting. 
  • Choice of employment. Respondents reported type of practice was the most important factor in choice of employment, with work/life balance and independence/flexibility coming in second. However, female attorneys were more likely to favor work/life balance while male attorneys were more likely to prioritize compensation and prestige.
  • Billable hours. 28% of respondents reported a billable hour requirement in their current setting. The mean billable hours was approximately 1900 hours.
  • Income. 20% of male attorneys and 5% of the females earned over $250,000 per year; at least some of this was driven by age differences.
  • Job satisfaction. Females are also twice as likely to be dissatisfied with their employment situation (earlier studies contained similar but more nuanced findings).  Female respondents reported higher incidents of job discrimination and lower pay for similar of-counsel work.
  • Personal household duties. Female attorneys reported more hours devoted to household chores (10.5 hours/wk for females versus 8.55 hours/wk for males).
  • Enter practice again.  70% percent of the men versus only 54.7% of the women stated that they definitely or probably would practice law again.

Bill has more details and links on this and similar previous studies.  I would add that the "household duties" statistic is proof that males are significantly more likely to overreport their weekly time devoted to household chores, possibly by defining the watching of Lifetime Channel or HGTV as housework.  [Posted by Alan Childress]

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_profession/2006/11/lawyer_career_t.html

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