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Women in the Law

About 25 Percent of Lawyer Moms Leave the Workplace, Study Finds

Posted May 9, 2011 9:02 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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About a quarter of lawyer moms leave the workplace, compared to about 6 percent of women with medical degrees.

University of Chicago economist Jane Leber Herr noted the differences when analyzing a national survey of college graduates and a sample of Harvard alumnae, the Washington Post reports.

Herr found that fewer than 4 percent of women without children left the workplace 15 years after graduating, but the figures were far higher for mothers. The workplace dropout rate was nearly 30 percent for mothers with a masters in business administration, about 25 percent for those with JDs, about 15 percent for those with a PhDs, and less than 6 percent for those with medical degrees.

“You would think that, given the rise in education of women, their experience, their presence in high-investment, high-income, high-value fields, the proportion of those who leave the labor force would have gone down,” Herr told the Post.

Workplaces need family friendly policies, she says, and those that have such policies need to ensure that workers don’t feel penalized for taking advantage of them.

Related coverage:

ABAJournal.com: "These Lawyer Families Are New Twist on Opt-Out Professionals"

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