A survey of lawyers who passed the bar in 2000 revealed a decline in the percentage of lawyers practicing law and major differences in pay based on gender, law school ranking and grades. The survey results were presented at a research seminar sponsored by the Fellows of the American Bar Foundation at the ABA Midyear Meeting in February 2014. See ABA Journal.com post by Debra Cassens Weiss, 2/8/2014.
Twenty-four percent (24%) of the surveyed lawyers admitted they were not practicing law in 2012, compared to about nine percent (9%) who were not practicing in 2003. Stated differently, 15% of the lawyers quit the practice of law over the last twelve years. The study showed a movement from private practice law jobs to business.
The careers with the highest percentage of nonpracticing lawyers were the nonprofit and education sector, where about 75% were not practicing. Next, lawyers found nonpracticing careers within the federal government, where nearly 26% were not practicing law.
Why did these lawyers leave the practice of law? Were the careers of these lawyers floundering because of poor legal training in a particular substantive area? Inability to attract clients? Failure to specialize in a particular field? Failure to acquire a mentor?