Friday, September 28, 2007

Survey of Lawyers' satisfaction & more

The title to this post will link to a lengthy article in the ABA Journal about a large survey of lawyers, covering newer, middle and senior lengths of practice in many settings. Interesting survey. It ties in somewhat to earlier posts this week about law schools not being clear with students about the poor job market and two pay levels.

Only 42 percent of lawyers who’d been in practice 10 years or more stated that they would recommend a legal career to a young person. Comparatively, 57 percent of those in practice less than three years said they would make the recommendation.

According to Henderson [William D. Henderson, a professor at Indiana University School of Law], whose research focuses on education policy and the economics of the legal profession, some of the dissatisfaction may come from law schools not fully informing students about the profession’s demands.

The numbers back this assertion: Out of those surveyed, 54 percent agreed with the statement that law schools do a poor job of training young lawyers for the practice.
Of course, there is a lot more than just this snippet, so read the whole survey. One of the nice pieces is that small firm lawyers tend to be happier and feel that their contributions are valued more than those lawyers in big firms (where they pay is higher). Another intriguing point is the general concern of lawyers that judges have been too politicized:
Two of every three lawyers surveyed said they are concerned that the court system they serve is becoming too political. The same number said they are concerned about the independence of the judiciary.

Lawyers from large firms and midsize firms expressed less concern about judicial politicization than others. But both groups expressed a slightly higher degree of alarm when asked about the issue of judicial independence.

Yet the highest degree of concern was registered among public sector lawyers, including local prosecutors, public defenders and lawyers for agencies at all levels of government. These are the lawyers who most often deal with hot-button social and political issues as a matter of everyday concern. And nearly three in four say they are concerned on both counts: That the law has become too political and that judges have lost a degree of independence.

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