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After the JD: International Conference on Research on Legal Careers in Transition
 

May 1-2, 2009 After the JD: Research on Legal Careers in Transition
Harvard Law School

Panels
Biographies and Abstracts
Accessing AJD Data

Scholars and practitioners agree that legal careers have changed dramatically over the last few decades. What is much less known is how careers have changed and to what extent traditional issues such as gender, race, law school status, and employment sector continue to structure the opportunities and experiences of young lawyers. The Harvard Law School Program on the Legal Profession organized an invited symposium to facilitate a dialogue on these important topics by bringing together scholars, educators, practitioners, and students from the US and around the world to discuss the latest empirical research on legal careers. The centerpiece of the Symposium examined the preliminary findings from Wave II of After the JD, a national longitudinal study on the careers of nearly 5,000 lawyers who entered legal practice in the year 2000. For purpose of comparison, researchers also presented data from similar studies on legal careers in the US, Canada, and abroad. The goal of this symposium was to foster a wide-ranging discussion about the changing nature of legal careers and future socio-legal scholarship on the profession.


Panels

Welcome
Robert Nelson, American Bar Foundation and Northwestern University
Keynote Address
David Wilkins, Harvard Law School
Keynote Address
Cynthia Fuchs Epstein, City University of New York
Closing: Future Pathways
Robert Nelson, American Bar Foundation and Northwestern University

 

Panel I – Evolution of Labor Markets, Types of Lawyers, and Practice Settings
Bryant Garth, Southwestern Law School
Rebecca Sandefur, Stanford University
Ronit Dinovitzer, University of Toronto and American Bar Foundation
Discussant: Jack Heinz, American Bar Foundation

Panel II – Issues Involving Work, Family, and Gender
Joyce Sterling, University of Denver
Nancy Reichman, University of Denver
Gabriele Plickert, Harvard Law School and American Bar Foundation
Discussant: Kenneth Dau-Schmidt, Indiana University

Panel III – Socio-legal Education & Practice
Dialogue on the Perspectives of Practitioners and Academics
William Henderson, Indiana University Law School
Scott Westfahl, Director of Professional Development, Goodwin Procter LLP

Panel IV - AJD Study and Comparative Perspectives
Terry Adams, University of Michigan, Institute for Social Research
David Chambers, University of Michigan Law School
David Nersessian, Harvard Law School
Discussant: Fiona Kay, Queens University, Canada

Panel V – Diversity in the Stratification of the Profession
John Hagan, Northwestern University and American Bar Foundation
Hilary Sommerlad, Centre for Research into Diversity in the Profession, Leeds Metropolitan University
Gita Wilder, The Association for Legal Career Professionals (NALP)
Discussant: David Wilkins, Harvard Law School

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Biographies and Abstracts

Gabriele Plickert
Conference Organizer; Presenter
Research Fellow, HLS Program on the Legal Profession;
Research Social Scientist, American Bar Foundation

Gabriele Plickert is a Research Fellow with the HLS Program on the Legal Profession and a Research Social Scientist at the American Bar Foundation. Dr. Plickert joined the AJD Project in 2006 as the Project Manager for the second wave. Her research interests include life course studies, legal career trajectories, mental health, and network analysis.  As a co-principal investigator, Dr. Plickert is involved in a comparative study of lawyers in German and U.S. cities and a cohort study of HLS graduates between 1975 and 2000. These studies seek to expand our understanding of lawyers’ lives in an era of globalized social and economic relations. Recent articles have appeared in Social Forces, Social Networks, and Journal of Gerontology.

Gabriele Plickert and John Hagan, Lawyers and the Negotiated Settlements of Later Life

Abstract:
We know little about the later lives of lawyers, despite a growing interest in the work satisfaction and emotional well-being of lawyers over the course of their careers.  A prominent personality theory argues that "maximizers" tend to single-mindedly pursue specific goals such as occupational career success, while "satisficers" choose between alternative goals and may ultimately find a more satisfying balance in their lives.  We present a life course growth and change theory which argues that this distinction between maximizing and satisficing may be a product of age and experience more than personality.  We use growth curve models to explore this possibility in a four wave Toronto panel study of lawyers followed for more than twenty years.  We find that while younger lawyers who are dissatisfied with their occupational careers are more likely to report symptoms of dysthymia, older lawyers who are dissatisfied with their work are no more likely to report these symptoms than those who are satisfied with their work.  We present evidence that this adaptiveness in the later lives of lawyers is linked to being married.

Joyce Sterling and Gabriele Plickert, Searching for the Meaning of “Opt-Out” Among Women Lawyers: What is the Picture after the Seventh Year of Practice?

Abstract:
Based on results from the second wave of the After the JD study, the authors attempt to find explanations for women moving to part-time legal positions or dropping out of the labor market altogether. We attempt to understand whether the emerging gap between labor market participation between men and women is a response to work-life balance issues or whether the drop-off is more of a reflection of dissatisfaction with the legal workplace. 

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Terry K. Adams
Presenter
Senior Research Associate
University of Michigan

Terry K. Adams is Senior Research Associate at the University of Michigan, with appointments in the Survey Research Center/Institute for Social Research and the Law School. He has a JD and MA (Political Science) degrees from the University of Michigan. He has served as Co-Director (with David L. Chambers) of the University of Michigan Law School Alumni Survey since 1980, and has been on the Executive Coordinating Committee of the After the JD Study since 1997. He directed the data collection for After the JD Wave II in 2006-2008 at the Survey Research Center.

Terry K. Adams, The Evolution of First Jobs for University of Michigan Law School Graduates

Abstract:
For forty consecutive years, from 1967 through 2006, the University of Michigan Law School surveyed its alums 15 years after graduation about their law school experiences and their careers. For more than 30 years (1973 through 2006), UMLS surveyed the graduates 5 years out, and for ten years (1997-2006), the graduates 25, 35, and 45 years out.  The resulting datasets provide both time-series and longitudinal data on a half-century of graduates (1952-2001), or about 17,000 persons.  In this presentation, we present information on changes over the 5-year period on first jobs taken after law school. The first job characteristics examined include type of organization (private law firm, business, government, legal services/public defender, public interest, and other settings), number of other attorneys in law firms, earnings in first year, years in first job, whether the first job after law school corresponded to the law school second summer employer, and whether alums had an interim job as a judicial clerk. Key variables are analyzed by gender and ethnicity as well as time period, and comparisons are made to consolidated After the JD (Waves I and II) data.

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David Chambers
Presenter
Wade H. McCree Jr. Collegiate Professor Emeritus
University of Michigan Law School

David Chambers is the Wade H. McCree, Jr., Collegiate Professor Emeritus at the University of Michigan Law School. He taught family law, criminal law and Constitutionalism in South Africa for many years. He and Terry Adams took over the University of Michigan Alumni Survey Project in 1980 and have run it together ever since.
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David L. Chambers, Educational Debt and Its Effects on Job Choice

Abstract:
For forty consecutive years, from 1967 through 2006, the University of Michigan Law School surveyed its alums 15 years after graduation about their law school experiences and their careers. For more than 30 years (1973 through 2006), UMLS surveyed the graduates 5 years out, and for ten years (1997-2006), the graduates 25, 35, and 45 years out. The resulting data sets provide both time-series and longitudinal data on a half-century of graduates (1952-2001), or about 17,000 persons. These data allow us to examine closely two phenomena observable in our data that are often believed to be linked. The first is that a great many of our graduates report that they arrived at law school planning a career in government, legal services, public defender, or public interest work, and a great many of the same graduates report that by the end of law school they have changed their minds and planned on working in private law firms. The other phenomenon is the growing educational debts taken on by our students. In this presentation, we report on the several analyses we have conducted to determine how much of a role educational debt has played in driving students away from public service work.

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Kenneth G. Dau-Schmidt
Discussant
Willard and Margaret Carr Professor of Labor and Employment Law
Indiana University Law School

Professor Dau-Schmidt is a nationally recognized teacher and scholar on the subjects of labor and employment law and the economic analysis of legal problems. His innovative teaching methods using classroom simulations have been widely featured in publications including the Christian Science Monitor, Chronicle of Higher Education, the Chicago Sun-Times, the National Jurist, and the Indiana Daily Student . In 2003 he was awarded the Leon H. Wallace Award, Indiana Law’s top teaching prize, and IU’s Sylvia Bowman Award for Teaching Excellence. He received the Excellence in Education Award of the Industrial Relations Research Association in 2004.

He is author of six books and numerous articles on labor and employment law and the economic analysis of law, and he frequently presents papers at academic conferences and law schools across the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia. In 1990 he received the Scholarly Paper Award from the Association of American Law Schools for his work on the economic analysis of the criminal law as a preference-shaping policy.

Dau-Schmidt is active in law school administration, most recently serving as the Associate Dean of Faculty Research. He was also the Chair or Co-Chair of the Indiana University Law School’s Center for Law, Society and Culture from 2003-2007 and has been an active participant in the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) and IU leadership programs. Professor Dau-Schmidt has been fortunate enough to be invited to teach at various European Universities including Christian-Albrechts-Universität in Kiel, Germany; Friedrich-Alexander-Universität in Erlangen, Germany; and Université Panthéon-Assas (Paris II) in Paris.
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Ronit Dinovitzer
Presenter
Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of Toronto
Faculty Fellow, American Bar Foundation (ABF)

Ronit Dinovitzer is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto and a Faculty Fellow at the American Bar Foundation. She holds a PhD in Sociology from the University of Toronto. Professor Dinovitzer is currently engaged in research on stratification in the legal profession through her involvement with the After the JD project, the first national longitudinal study of law graduates. Her recent publications have appeared in Law & Society Review; British Journal of Criminology and Social Forces.
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Ronit Dinovitzer and Bryant Garth, Settling into the Legal Profession: elite advantage, opportunities for upward mobility, and the paradox of elites and large law firms

Abstract:
The paper focuses on the sources of advantage in the legal profession by analyzing key milestones in the progression of lawyers’ careers: the persistence of new lawyers in large law firms, income and partnership attainment. While the Wave 1 data highlighted the importance of law school selectivity in the sorting of graduates into practice settings, we investigate the extent to which this credential remains a key sorting mechanism. Our analyses therefore focus on understanding the power of the law school credential once lawyers are 7-8 years into their careers, and investigate the competing power of other forms of capital, such as GPA and other skills and credentials, or the social capital acquired through mentoring and other forms of networking.

Ronit Dinovitzer and John Hagan, Structure, Hierarchy and Mobility in Legal Markets

Abstract:
This paper addresses lawyers mobility within the context of legal markets. While individual level factors such as race, gender, GPA, or school attended impact lawyer's mobility intentions, in this paper we situate individuals within particular labor markets. In so doing, we find that there are indeed collective effects at the labor market level that influence mobility intentions. We then proceed to draw on the longitudinal nature of the study to explore the rates of geographic mobility in Wave II of the study.

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Cynthia Fuchs Epstein
Keynote Speaker
Distinguished Professor of Sociology
Graduate Center, City University of New York

Cynthia Fuchs Epstein is Distinguished Professor of Sociology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She was President of the American Sociological Association in 2006. She is known for her studies of gender and work, particularly women in the legal profession. She has also written critical analyses of theories of sex and gender and on cultural and structural analysis of gender inequality. She is also a scholar of professions and organizations.

Epstein has engaged in many research projects, among them several studies of women lawyers including glass ceiling issues and part-time work. She also has studied men and women communications workers (AT&T) and is currently engaged in research on identity and socialization processes among public interest attorneys. She has had grants from the Atlantic Philanthropies, The Russell Sage Foundation, The Sloan Foundation, The Ford Foundation, The National Institutes of Mental Health, and the Professional Staff Congress of the City University as well as other agencies.

Among her other activities she has been a fellow of the Guggenheim Foundation, The Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences and the MacDowell Colony and has been a visiting professor at the Stanford Law School and Columbia Law School. She was Resident Scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation for six years. In addition, she was a White House appointee to the Committee on the Economic Role of Women to the Council of Economic Advisors and an advisor to the White House on Affirmative Action. She has also done consulting work for major corporations.

Her publications include: Fighting for Time: Shifting Boundaries of Work and Social Life (Russell Sage, 2004); The Part-time Paradox: Time Norms, Professional Life, Family and Gender (Routledge, 1999); “Glass Ceilings and Open Doors: Women’s Advancement in the Legal Profession,” Fordham Law Review, Nov. 1995; as well as over 100 articles and book chapters. She is at work on a book on the impact of workplace culture and community on the meaning of work to men and women; and a book on the factors affecting choice of legal careers in the public interest.

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Bryant Garth
Presenter
Dean and Professor of Law
Southwestern Law School

Bryant G. Garth is Dean and Professor of Law at Southwestern Law School. He began his tenure as Dean in the fall of 2005. Prior to that time, he served for fourteen years as Director of the American Bar Foundation in Chicago and four years as Dean of Indiana University School of Law-Bloomington. His research focuses on the legal profession and on the globalization of law. His most recent books (with Yves Dezalay) are The Internationalization of Palace Wars: Lawyers, Economists, and the Contest to Transform Latin American States (University of Chicago Press) and Global Prescriptions: The Production, Exportation, and Importation of a New Legal Orthodoxy (edited volume, University of Michigan Press, 2002). He and Yves Dezalay are currently finishing a new book tentatively entitled Asian Legal Revivals: Lawyer-Compradors and Colonial Strategies in the Reshaping of Asian States. He currently chairs the advisory board of the Law School Survey of Student Engagement and serves on the executive coordinating committee of the “After the J.D.” study of lawyer careers. He is co-editor of the Journal of Legal Education.
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Ronit Dinovitzer and Bryant Garth, Settling into the Legal Profession: elite advantage, opportunities for upward mobility, and the paradox of elites and large law firms

Abstract:
The paper focuses on the sources of advantage in the legal profession by analyzing key milestones in the progression of lawyers’ careers: the persistence of new lawyers in large law firms, income and partnership attainment. While the Wave 1 data highlighted the importance of law school selectivity in the sorting of graduates into practice settings, we investigate the extent to which this credential remains a key sorting mechanism. Our analyses therefore focus on understanding the power of the law school credential once lawyers are 7-8 years into their careers, and investigate the competing power of other forms of capital, such as GPA and other skills and credentials, or the social capital acquired through mentoring and other forms of networking.


John Hagan
Presenter
John D. MacArthur Professor of Sociology and Law, Northwestern University
Research Professor, American Bar Foundation (ABF)

John Hagan is the editor of Annual Review of Law and Social Science. He is co-author with Alberto Palloni of “Death in Darfur” in Science and is co-author with Wenona Rymond-Richmond of the forthcoming book, Darfur and the Crime of Genocide (Cambridge University Press 2008). He developed an early interest in the social organization of subjective justice that is continued in his 2005 American Sociological Review article with Carla Shedd and Monique Payne on race, ethnicity and Perceptions of Criminal Injustice. His articles and book, Structural Criminology, present a power-control theory of crime and delinquency. Power-control theory also plays a role in his work with Holly Foster in their 2001 American Sociological Review paper on “The End of Adolescence.” Hagan’s Presidential Address to the American Society of Criminology underlined the role of poverty in crime. This theme is central to his research with Bill McCarthy on homeless youth for their book, Mean Streets. As a Guggenheim Fellow, Hagan studied the migration of American Vietnam war resisters to Canada that is described in the book Northern Passage. Hagan’s recent work has focused on the international tribunal where Slobodan Milosevic was tried. His book, Justice in the Balkans, is a social history of this tribunal. This project is further developed in Law and Society Review and Law and Social Inquiry articles with Sanja Kutnjak Ivokovic, Ron Levi and Gabrielle Ferrales. A co-authored review essay with Heather Schoenfeld on war crimes in the Balkans and Darfur appeared recently in the Annual Review of Sociology.
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John Hagan, Monique Payne, and Robert Nelson, Experiencing Discrimination: Race and Retention in America’s Largest Law Firms

Abstract:
Although the number of racial and ethnic minority lawyers in the legal profession has greatly increased, concern remains about their low percentage among partners in elite law firms. Using a nationally representative sample of young American lawyers, we compare a human capital based theory, which emphasizes measures of merit, and an institutional discrimination based theory, which focuses on differences in partner contact and mentoring. The results indicate that institutional discrimination theory is the better way of understanding racial and ethnic differences in lawyer retention. Future affirmative action programs need to focus not just on access but also the processes within large firms if minority presence is to be increased.

Ronit Dinovitzer and John Hagan, Structure, Hierarchy and Mobility in Legal Markets

Abstract:
This paper addresses lawyers mobility within the context of legal markets. While individual level factors such as race, gender, GPA, or school attended impact lawyer's mobility intentions, in this paper we situate individuals within particular labor markets. In so doing, we find that there are indeed collective effects at the labor market level that influence mobility intentions. We then proceed to draw on the longitudinal nature of the study to explore the rates of geographic mobility in Wave II of the study.

Gabriele Plickert and John Hagan, Lawyers and the Negotiated Settlements of Later Life

Abstract:
We know little about the later lives of lawyers, despite a growing interest in the work satisfaction and emotional well-being of lawyers over the course of their careers. A prominent personality theory argues that "maximizers" tend to single-mindedly pursue specific goals such as occupational career success, while "satisficers" choose between alternative goals and may ultimately find a more satisfying balance in their lives. We present a life course growth and change theory which argues that this distinction between maximizing and satisficing may be a product of age and experience more than personality. We use growth curve models to explore this possibility in a four wave Toronto panel study of lawyers followed for more than twenty years. We find that while younger lawyers who are dissatisfied with their occupational careers are more likely to report symptoms of dysthymia, older lawyers who are dissatisfied with their work are no more likely to report these symptoms than those who are satisfied with their work. We present evidence that this adaptiveness in the later lives of lawyers is linked to being married.

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Jack Heinz
Discussant
Professor Emeritus, Northwestern University School of Law
Research Professor, American Bar Foundation (ABF)

For the past thirty years, Jack Heinz’s research has focused primarily on the social structure of the legal profession. This work applies sociological methods, often using quantitative measures, to the study of the organization and delivery of legal services and the relationships among varying types of lawyers. He is perhaps best known as the co-author, with Edward Laumann of the University of Chicago, of Chicago Lawyers: The Social Structure of the Bar, first published in 1982. A revised edition appeared in 1994. The book argues that urban lawyers are divided into “two hemispheres,” one serving corporations and other large organizations, and the other serving individuals and small businesses. His other books include The Hollow Core: Private Interests in National Policy Making (1993) and Urban Lawyers: The New Social Structure of the Bar (2005).

Heinz was trained at the Yale Law School and at Washington University in St. Louis, where he did graduate work in political science. For more than four decades, he was a member of the faculty of the Northwestern University School of Law, where he taught criminal law. He has also been affiliated with the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern.

He is active in civic affairs in Chicago, having served as president of the John Howard Association, chair of the professional advisory committee of the Cook County State’s Attorney, and chair of the research committee of the Chicago Appleseed Fund for Justice. He was also the delegate of the Association of American Law Schools to the American Council of Learned Societies, a member of the board of directors of the Northwestern University Press, and co-editor of Law and Social Inquiry. He has published articles in Harper’s, Sports Illustrated, and journals with less circulation.
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William D. Henderson
Discussant
Associate Professor of Law
Maurer School of Law, Indiana University Bloomington

Professor Henderson joined the Indiana Law faculty in 2003 following a visiting appointment at Chicago-Kent College of Law and a judicial clerkship for Judge Richard Cudahy of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. He teaches various business law courses, including Corporations, Business Planning, and a class on law firms as business organization. In conjunction with other Indiana law faculty, Henderson is developing The Legal Profession, a new course which explores how different practice settings (e.g., corporate practice versus criminal defense versus government lawyers) influence the moral and ethical duties of lawyers.

Henderson’s scholarship focuses on empirical analysis of the legal profession and legal education. His published work includes articles in the North Carolina Law Review, the Indiana Law Journal, the Texas Law Review, the Michigan Law Review, and the Stanford Law Review (forthcoming 2008). In the law firm context, he is currently examining a wide variety of market trends, including patterns of lawyer mobility, the relationship between profitability and associate satisfaction, the economic geography of large law firms, and attrition rates of female and minority attorneys. His recent legal-education work explores the relationship between labor markets and the annual U.S. News & World Report law school rankings. Prior education-related projects include an innovative study which found evidence that the predictive validity of the LSAT may be partially attributable to the legal academy’s heavy and under-theorized use of time-pressured exams. In addition, his 2002 analysis of the Cleveland Public Schools was the first study to utilize GIS maps for visually depicting the relationship between a school district’s socioeconomic composition and students’ performance on state proficiency exams. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Henderson is a research associate with the Law School Survey of Student Engagement (LSSSE) and director of the Law Firms Working Group, a joint initiative of the Indiana Law and the American Bar Foundation. He is also a regular contributor to the Empirical Legal Studies Blog.
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Fiona M. Kay
Discussant
Queen’s National Scholar and Associate Professor
Queen’s University

Dr. Fiona Kay is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. She researches the sociology of law and sociology of work and occupations. She has published extensively on women and racial/ethnic minorities in the legal profession. Her work has examined several dimensions of diversity and law practice, including: legal education, mentorship and early career stages, work/family balance, glass ceilings and earnings inequities, promotions and law firm partnerships, job exits and lateral mobility, job satisfaction and professional commitment, clientele relations, and comparative work across civil and common law jurisdictions of law practice. Recently, Professor Kay has also examined social inequality and social capital. One product of this research is the edited volume, Social Capital, Diversity, and the Welfare State (with Richard Johnston, University of British Columbia, 2006). Most recently, Professor Kay has initiated a study of access to justice, pro bono (free) legal service among lawyers, and the system of Legal Aid in Canada.

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Robert L. Nelson
Keynote Speaker
Director; MacCrate Research Chair, American Bar Foundation
Professor of Sociology, Northwestern University

Robert L. Nelson is the Director of the American Bar Foundation, the MacCrate Research Chair in the Legal Profession at the ABF, and professor of sociology and law at Northwestern University. He is a leading scholar in the fields of the legal profession and discrimination law. He has authored or edited 7 books and numerous articles, including Legalizing Gender Inequality, co-authored with William Bridges, which won the prize for best book in sociology in 2001, Urban Lawyers: The New Social Structure of the Bar, co-authored with John Heinz, Edward Laumann, and Rebecca Sandefur, (2005), and Global Perspectives on the Rule of Law, co-edited with James Heckman and Lee Cabatingan (forthcoming).
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John Hagan, Monique Payne, and Robert Nelson, Experiencing Discrimination: Race and Retention in America’s Largest Law Firms

Abstract:
Although the number of racial and ethnic minority lawyers in the legal profession has greatly increased, concern remains about their low percentage among partners in elite law firms. Using a nationally representative sample of young American lawyers, we compare a human capital based theory, which emphasizes measures of merit, and an institutional discrimination based theory, which focuses on differences in partner contact and mentoring. The results indicate that institutional discrimination theory is the better way of understanding racial and ethnic differences in lawyer retention. Future affirmative action programs need to focus not just on access but also the processes within large firms if minority presence is to be increased.

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David L. Nersessian
Presenter
Executive Director
Harvard Law School Program on the Legal Profession

Dr. David Nersessian is the Executive Director of the Harvard Law School Program on the Legal Profession. His research concentrates on three dynamic aspects of the legal profession: the impact of globalization; lawyers as human capital (including the recruitment, training, and management of talent in law firms and other environments); and the role of lawyers in human rights issues, particularly in the private sector. He is a co-principal investigator on the Harvard Law School Career Study, which involves a detailed survey of the career trajectories, work opportunities, and life choices of nearly 3,000 HLS graduates. Other current projects include research on the recruiting and retention of lawyers with disabilities, a project on law firm culture and recruiting in AmLaw 200 law firms, and research on the role of in-house counsel in responding to and preventing human rights violations.

David Nersessian, The Harvard Law School Career Study: HLS Graduates and AJD Lawyers – An Early Comparison

Abstract:
This paper provides a description of the methodology and goals of the Harvard Law School Career Study, which is a cohort study of approximately 3,000 Harvard Law School graduates from the classes of 1975, 1985, 1995, and 2000 and a representative sample from the 1960s. The HLS Career Study covers a broad range of topics about the careers of HLS graduates, including questions about career trajectories and mobility, employment status, work / life balance, non-practicing lawyers, globalization, and the impact of gender, race, disability, and other demographic characteristics. The paper seeks to facilitate an early dialogue on some of these issues and on how best to compare the careers of HLS graduates with those of the various categories of law school graduates reflected in “Wave II” of the AJD Study.

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Nancy Reichman
Presenter
Professor and Chair
Department of Sociology, University of Denver

Nancy Reichman is Professor and Chair of the Department of Sociology and previously served as Interim Director of the Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Denver. She teaches courses in criminology, complex organizations, women and public policy, and law and society. She is the co-author of Gender Penalties (with Joyce Sterling and Cathlin Donnell), a study of pay inequity between male and female attorneys. This study is being extended in project, “Partners on the Periphery,” that examines the effects of social capital in the development of careers. She recently completed a book, Ozone Connections (with Penelope Canan) that examines the social organization of expertise to implement global environment agreements. A final project examines the growth of multidisciplinary professional practice and the emerging contest over legal and business advice. Her articles cover a range of topics from understanding regulatory regimes to insurance fraud and white collar crime. Professor Reichman received her BA from New College in Sarasota Florida, MPA from New York University, and PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and has been at the University of Denver since 1984.
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Nancy Reichman, Opting In: How “Partners” Matter in Re-Working Women’s Legal Careers

Abstract:
The paper presents a contemporary snapshot of 600 law students enrolled in 3 northeast law schools in 1975. Over 85% of the 1975 sample was found using public record searches. Of those found, 70% continue to practice law. Not surprisingly, law school and gender produce significant differences in patterns of practice. In-depth interviews with a subset of women lawyers explored the dynamics of “opting in” in the face of tremendous pressures to take time off for families. I consider the significant role of partners – those at home as well as those in the office – in determining how women re-work their careers.

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Rebecca L. Sandefur
Presenter
Assistant Professor of Sociology
Stanford University

Rebecca L. Sandefur is Assistant Professor of Sociology and (by courtesy) Law at Stanford University, where she also directs the co-terminal master’s program in sociology. Her scholarly work lies at the intersection of the study of law and the study of inequality. Current research projects include a study of the impact of civil justice problems and civil justice institutions on socioeconomic inequality and a study of the sources of public interest lawyering, exploring the contributions of legal education, social background, educational debt, and legal labor market conditions. She has written on lawyers’ work and the legal profession, the impact of representation, legal aid, and public experience with civil justice problems. She serves on the Right to Counsel Committee of the California Access to Justice Commission and the Research Advisory Board of the Civil Right to Counsel Leadership and Support Initiative.
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Rebecca L. Sandefur, Sources of Lawyering in the Public Interest: Cause Lawyers, Public Servants, and Lawyers for Ordinary Americans.

Abstract:
By most accounts, public interest lawyers compose a minority of the contemporary US legal profession. But lawyers serve the public in a variety of ways: formally employed by the public in government and the judiciary; in the service of causes, such as the environment or the eradication of poverty; working in legal aid; and, providing private practice legal services to individual members of the public. Using data from a recent national US survey of young attorneys, the After the JD Survey, I explore the sources of public-serving lawyers, focusing on the roles played by institutional factors, including elements of legal education and how that education is funded, local legal labor markets, and lawyers’ social background.

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Hilary Sommerlad
Presenter
Professor of Law and Society
Leeds Metropolitain University

Dr. Hilary Sommerlad is Professor of Law & Society and Director of the Centre for Diversity in the Professions at Leeds Metropolitan University. A political scientist and solicitor by training, one of Professor Sommerlad’s main research interests is women lawyers. She is a member of several international research groups concerned with gender and law and, in addition to numerous journal articles and conference presentations, co-authored the first study of women solicitors in England and Wales: Gender, Choice and Commitment: Women Solicitors and the struggle for equal status (Aldershot, Dartmouth, 1998).

In 2007 she established the Centre for Research into Diversity in the Professions. In addition to academic work, the Centre advises both employers and policy makers. The Centre co-ordinates a Leeds Met Race Research Network and Professor Sommerlad is also a founding member of the university Gender Network and the Equality and Diversity Group.

Hilary Sommerlad, Modernity, post-modernity and pre-modernity: outsider lawyers and professional identity and role

Abstract:
This paper explores the dichotomous narratives and theoretical perspectives which seek to explain social change: on the one hand, those which depict a process of incremental social modernization, and on the other, those which represent change as a contradictory and uneven process. The current tension in the UK between discourses of ‘widening participation’ and the processes of neo-liberal reform, can be framed in terms of these competing narratives. Widening participation has become a major theme in UK policy discourse on both social justice and global competitiveness grounds. It has generated new equality legislation, the expansion of Higher Education and employability policies, and a proliferation of diversity and equality initiatives. It might therefore be viewed as progressing the rationalization and democratization of British society. Yet research evidence indicates that recent years have seen a decrease in social mobility in the UK, and that the persistent hegemony of class, gender and race frustrates the goal of opening up labour markets. It can further be argued that neo-liberal reform has strengthened pre-modern modes of thought and cultural practice, facilitating their co-existence with the post-modern / post-Fordist world.

The solicitors’ profession in England and Wales is affected by and exemplifies these tensions. Its pre-modern, paternalist ethos has transmuted into one which is explicitly commercial and grounded in economic rationality. Many solicitors’ firms, especially in the corporate sector, have made a rhetorical commitment to diversity and equality on both social justice and ‘business case’ grounds and some are also taking practical measures to democratize their staff intake. Yet research evidence suggests that the expansion and diversification of the profession’s supply base has not ended the practice of occupational closure, but rather accentuated the importance of the social position and cultural background of applicants, and facilitated the development of new occupational hierarchies.

Merit is one of the pivotal concepts in the discourse which legitimates this process. The power of merit results from its ostensible objectivity. This obscures the fact that its warrants derive from an educational system that remains permeated by archaic privilege and that the normative professional who embodies merit remains a gendered, classed and raced figure. As a result, the barriers to rationalising and diversifying this labour market are highly complex and encompass not only employers’ tendency to devalue the forms of capital possessed by non-traditional law students, but also the difficulties such students have in believing that they can convincingly inhabit and enact the professional role. This paper will draw on a longitudinal study of aspirant non-traditional or’outsider’ trainee solicitors to discuss these issues.

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Joyce Sterling
Presenter
Professor
University of Denver, Sturm College of Law

Joyce Sterling has devoted more than a decade to the study of the legal profession and legal education. Her recent research has focused on the problems facing women in legal careers compared to their male counterparts. Her most recent article appears in University of Texas Journal of Women and the Law (titled “Sticky Floors, Broken Steps, Concrete Ceilings in Legal Careers”.) Since 1997, Professor Sterling has been one of the co-principal investigators on the “After the JD” Study. “After the JD” is the first national, longitudinal study of careers of lawyers in the U.S. The AJD sample is drawn from the population of lawyers admitted to practice in the year 2000.

Professor Sterling has been a Visiting Scholar at Stanford Law School (Academic Year 1985-86), Visiting Professor at University of Cincinnati Law School (Fall 1990) and most recently a Visiting Research Fellow at the American Bar Foundation (Academic Year 2002-2003). Professor Sterling is called upon to give lectures about gender in the legal profession. These include the keynote address to the NALP Foundation annual meeting (2004), as well as speaking at the LSAC Annual Meeting, Law Access, Association of American Law Schools, and the Law and Society Association. Professor Sterling’s teaching areas include: History of American Law, Scientific Evidence, Legal Profession (course on legal ethics), and Law and Society Seminar.
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Joyce Sterling and Gabriele Plickert, Searching for the Meaning of “Opt-Out” Among Women Lawyers: What is the Picture after the Seventh Year of Practice?

Abstract:
Based on results from the second wave of the After the JD study, the authors attempt to find explanations for women moving to part-time legal positions or dropping out of the labor market altogether. We attempt to understand whether the emerging gap between labor market participation between men and women is a response to work-life balance issues or whether the drop-off is more of a reflection of dissatisfaction with the legal workplace.

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Scott Westfahl
Discussant
Director of Professional Development
Goodwin Procter LLP

Scott Westfahl joined Goodwin Procter in 2004 as the firm’s Director of Professional Development. In this role, he is responsible for all aspects of the professional development of Goodwin Procter attorneys, focusing on issues involving career development, evaluations and feedback, mentoring, diversity, leadership and professional skills development, attorney integration and transitions and alumni programming. Prior to coming to Goodwin Procter, Mr. Westfahl spent six years leading professional development for the Washington, D.C. office of McKinsey & Company, one of the world’s top management consulting companies. Mr. Westfahl is also an experienced business and federal regulatory attorney, having practiced law with Foley & Lardner’s Washington, D.C. office from 1988 to 1998. He earned his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1988, and graduated summa cum laude from Dartmouth College in 1985 with a B.A. in Government.

In 2006, Mr. Westfahl and his team won a prestigious First Place Award from the Legal Marketing Association for developing an innovative corporate social networking website for Goodwin Procter alumni and current attorneys and senior staff to connect and network. In 2008, Mr. Westfahl was chosen as one of Law Firm, Inc. magazine’s five “Innovators of the Year” for his work in developing a cutting edge attorney assignment system and database called iStaff, which effectively ties attorney work assignments to their professional development needs.

In July, 2009, Mr. Westfahl will become Chairman of the Professional Development Consortium, a 370-member professional association for law firm professional development and training leaders across North America and the U.K.
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Gita Wilder
Presenter
Senior Social Science Researcher
The Association for Legal Career Professionals (NALP)

Gita Wilder is a Senior Social Science Researcher at NALP. She has been a member of the Executive Coordinating Committee of the After the JD longitudinal study since its inception. Her main areas of research interest are gender and racial-ethnic differences in academic and career achievement, and more recently, in legal education and the pipeline thereto. She has written reports on law school debt, race and ethnicity, and gendered career trajectories.

Gita Wilder, Mobility Among Women

Abstract:
This presentation uses descriptive data from AJD1 and AJD2 to characterize -- tentatively -- mobility among the minority women in the study. The paper disaggregates results for women from the three largest racial-ethnic minority groups: Asian, black and Hispanic. First documenting their exodus from the legal pipeline, the presentation attempts to make a case for the fleshing out the “stories” of minority women who change jobs in an effort to understand their concerns and decisions before they leave the profession. Such fleshing out, because of the relatively small numbers of women from each group, will undoubtedly require qualitative approaches in addition to more fine-grained analysis of the AJD data.

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David B. Wilkins
Keynote Speaker, Discussant
Lester Kissel Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
Director, Harvard Law School Program on the Legal Profession
Director, Center on Lawyers and the Professional Services Industry

Professor David Wilkins is the Lester Kissel Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and Faculty Director of the Program on the Legal Profession and Center on Lawyers and the Professional Services Industry. He is also a Visiting Senior Research Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and a Faculty Associate of the Harvard University Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics.

Professor Wilkins has published over 50 articles on the legal profession in leading scholarly journals and the popular press. He co-authored (with HLS colleague Andrew Kaufman) one of the leading casebooks in the field. His current scholarly projects on the profession include the After the JD study and the Program on the Legal Profession’s Corporate Purchasing Project. He is also a faculty member at the Harvard Law School Executive Education Program.

His other research projects include empirical research on the development of “ethical infrastructure” in large law firms based on a series of focus groups with leading practitioners and regulators and over 200 in-depth interviews conducted in connection with a forthcoming book on the development of the black corporate bar, which will be published by Oxford University Press.

Professor Wilkins teaches several courses on lawyers and other related professionals, including the country’s only four credit course on the Legal Profession. He also teaches a seminar on The Future(s) of the Large Law Firm, as well as an introductory lecture for all first year students on the legal profession and careers. He is also heavily involved in curricular reform at HLS and the creation of a new course for first-year students entitled Problem Solving. Professor Wilkins is a frequent speaker at academic conferences, law firms, other professional service providers, and bar organizations, both within the United States and around the world. He was the Order of the Coif Distinguished visitor for 2008 and is a member of Harvard University’s Task Force on Professional Schools.
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Accessing AJD Data

To request AJD data, please visit the AJD website.

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