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Attorneys' Career Dissatisfaction in the New Normal

46 Pages Posted: 20 Jul 2017 Last revised: 5 Sep 2017

Milan Markovic

Texas A&M University School of Law

Gabriele Plickert

California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

Date Written: July 12, 2017

Abstract

The 2008 economic recession had a seismic impact on the legal profession. This Article is the first to empirically assess whether the recession has made law an unsatisfying career.

Relying on survey data from over 11,000 active members of the State Bar of Texas, we find that only 13.5% of all attorneys and 11.5% of full-time attorneys are dissatisfied with their careers. Newer attorneys report greater career dissatisfaction than more experienced attorneys, yet they too are largely satisfied.

We also determine using logistic regression that three factors are highly predictive of lawyers’ career dissatisfaction: 1) comparatively low incomes; 2) working in private practice as opposed to in government or in a non-profit/public interest setting; and 3) law firm employment in a non-partnership role. Law school debt and lower class rank have only minor effects on career dissatisfaction whereas race, gender, years of practice experience, practice area, and firm size have no independent effects.

Keywords: Legal Profession, Recession, Law Firms, Legal Market, Structural Change, Associates, Satisfaction, Solo Practitioners

JEL Classification: J28, J44, I26

Suggested Citation

Markovic, Milan and Plickert, Gabriele, Attorneys' Career Dissatisfaction in the New Normal (July 12, 2017). Texas A&M University School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 17-47; AccessLex Institute Research Paper No. 17-05. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3001391

Milan Markovic (Contact Author)

Texas A&M University School of Law ( email )

1515 Commerce Street
Fort Worth, TX 76102
United States
817-212-4056 (Phone)

Gabriele Plickert

California State Polytechnic University, Pomona ( email )

3801 W. Temple Avenue
Pomona, CA 91768
United States
9098694752 (Phone)
9098694752 (Fax)

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