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Lawyers Who Aren't Practicing Law

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?  

-Attorney Robert Schaller