find the latest legal job
Corporate and Commercial Partner
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Adelaide CBD · Join a leading Adelaide commercial law firm
View details
Freelance Project Finance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Australia
· Vario are looking for freelance lawyers with experience in project finance ideally within the renewable energy sector
View details
Vario Freelance Lawyers
Category: Construction Law | Location: All Australia
· We are looking for lawyers who appreciate the endless possibilities that a freelance career can offer.
View details
Freelance Construction Lawyers
Category: Construction Law | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· We are looking for construction lawyers who appreciate the endless possibilities that a freelance career can offer.
View details
Banking Associate - 1-6PQE - Allen & Overy
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: United Kingdom
· Banking Associate - 1-6 PQE - Allen & Overy
View details
Dissatisfaction rife in large law: survey

Dissatisfaction rife in large law: survey

A new survey has revealed just how unhappy lawyers working in the top tier are

LAWYERS in large firms have long been renowned for being workaholics, the by-product of a fiercely competitive industry and high wages and their education, but is it time for the industry to re-think its grind-to-the-bone approach? 


A US study of 5,000 lawyers, who began practice in 2000, shows that lawyers working in firms of more than 250 lawyers are less satisfied with their jobs than their small-firm counterparts, reports The American Lawyer. 


The study, which is based at the American Bar Foundation and called After the JD (AJD), suggests there is a specific pattern to the dissatisfaction among young associates at large firms.


Graduates of the most selective schools are the least satisfied with their jobs at large firms, while graduates of less selective schools are relatively more satisfied. 


Among AJD respondents working at firms of more than 100 lawyers, only 26 percent of graduates of U.S. News & World Report’s top ten law schools report extreme satisfaction with their decision to become a lawyer, compared to almost half (49 percent) of graduates from fourth-tier law schools. Similarly, 59 per cent of top-ten law school graduates expressed the intention to leave their employer within two years, compared to just over a quarter of fourth-tier law school graduates. 


Firms flock to elite law schools in order to recruit these students, often bypassing lower-tier schools. But the AJD data shows that after graduation, about two-thirds of top-ten law graduates were working in firms of over 100 lawyers, compared to 11 per cent of third-tier graduates, and seven per cent of fourth-tier graduates.


The study further shows that graduates of elite law schools come to the job market with different career expectations than graduates of non-elite schools.


Among other things, they are more likely to have considered careers in business consulting or investment banking, therefore the lucrative salaries offered by the large law firms are no consolation for the hours that they have to work. They know they have other options, and they have friends who are getting even richer with those other options. 


Students from less selective schools have a different approach. They know they had to work harder simply to attain these positions, and they realise that their options are more limited, while about 75 per cent of top-ten school graduates received two or more job offers, only 40 per cent of fourth-tier students received more than one offer. 


Studies such as AJD show that while the passing recession and economic downturn is of great concern to firms now, the structure of firms and culture within firms should be of greatest concern. 


Law firms are always going to need driven young lawyers who are committed to doing what it takes to make partner, but these lawyers are not necessarily from the elite law schools. 


The data confirms that firms must confront the culture within them, that creates such high attrition for all lawyers, especially for women, minorities, and even graduates from the top schools if they want to hold onto their talent. 

Like this story? Read more:

Book commemorates diamond milestone for WA law society

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

Dissatisfaction rife in large law: survey
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Scales of Justice
06:00
WA to close ‘legal loophole’ on gender reassignment laws
Laws in Western Australia will soon change to permit married people to undergo gender reassignment s...
Lawyers take to Twitter to share career stories
Jan 22 2018
Lawyers take to Twitter to share career stories
The #mypathtolaw hashtag has been embraced by legal eagles to swap stories with the Twitter communit...
Jan 22 2018
Legal body disappointed with DPP emails leaked to tabloid
The NSW Bar Association has expressed “profound disappointment” over leaked emails from the NSW ...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...