Which midlevel associates are the happiest?

Midlevel associates are feeling happier these days.

An American Lawyer survey (sub. req.) of midlevel associates found satisfaction levels are up slightly from last year, reaching the highest level in a decade.

Midlevel associates were most satisfied at Nutter McClennen & Fish, followed by Paul Hastings; Cozen O’Connor; Williams & Connolly; Goulston & Storrs; Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler; O’Melveny & Myers; Gibson Dunn & Crutcher; Foley Hoag; and Shook, Hardy & Bacon. A press release and this American Lawyer story (sub. req.) have more information.

The law schools that produced the most satisfied midlevel associates were at Duke and the University of Michigan, which tied for first place. They were followed by Loyola in Los Angeles, Stanford and the University of Chicago. The law school that scored the lowest was Villanova, which admitted fudging admissions data in 2011 and saw its longtime law dean resign in the summer of 2009 after his name surfaced in a prostitution probe.

The survey asked the associates for the first time about how well law school prepared them for practice. The survey found a correlation between better preparation and job satisfaction.

The survey also found:

• African-American associates rated their firms lower than other ethnic minorities on commitment to diversity, the level of responsibility they are given and the fairness of evaluations.

• Female associates gave their firms lower grades than men for providing training in project management and client relations, as well as lower grades for being family friendly.

• Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender lawyers were less likely to see themselves at their firms in two years, and rated making partner as less important.

• Midlevel associates in San Diego, Dallas and Los Angeles were happiest, while those in Minneapolis, Philadelphia and New York were unhappiest.

More than 5,000 associates at 132 firms responded to survey.

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