Associates from Elite Law Schools Chosen for Top Firm Jobs Report Bottom Scores in Job Satisfaction

Here you are worried about the kinds of offers you received or might receive after recent news that some large firms are cutting back, rescinding or delaying offers. Could an offer at a small firm, non-profit or other related job be a blessing in disguise? A Lexis Hub survey revealed that 70 percent of recent and upcoming Law School Grads changed directions or accepted a position quite different from their previous expectations. But for the smaller group who do get the BigLaw jobs, the prize may not equate to career happiness. An ongoing study of Associates’ job satisfaction indicates that graduates of the top tier schools landing in big firms (250+ attorneys) are less satisfied than their counterparts who attended lower tier schools or landed in smaller firms.
The findings come from a 10-year study of the careers of 5000 law school graduates. Started in 2000 by the American Bar Foundation (ABF), the After the JD study evaluates satisfaction, advancement, salary and lifestyle balance. ABF Research Faculty Ronit Dinovitzer and Bryant G. Garth suggest that the current economic crisis provides the perfect backdrop for top firms to reduce associate pay while at the same time improving the lifestyle of associates with more reasonable hours and working conditions. They report in a commentary published by American, that 59 percent of top-ten law school graduates intend to leave their jobs within two years.  More pleased with the selection of a BigLaw job, only a quarter of fourth-tier school graduates report the same desire to depart. Among the authors bold suggestions:
  • Reach beyond the Law Schools considered “elite,” and hire more associates from lower tier schools.
  • Rethink the current structure that inherently makes life miserable for associates.
  • Improve lifestyle of associates in order to encourage retention. Revise the current voluntary weed-out process by encouraging associates to stay and in turn coping with the potential lower attrition through a better mentorship and evaluation process.

 Are you satisfied with your current position? Will you stay? Were you courted by big firms?  Send your comments by following the login and post comments link below.


By Lori Webster Sieron, Lexis Hub Staff