Law Practice

Survey Says: Career Satisfaction a Struggle

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Lawyers are ruder. Litigation costs more. And many attorneys struggle for career satisfaction. But nonetheless, most lawyers are still proud of their profession.

That’s the gist of an American Bar Association survey of 800 attorneys that is discussed in next month’s ABA Journal cover story.

One troubling statistic is the number of respondents who say they’re satisfied with their careers: 55 percent. Even fewer recommend the law as a profession to others: 44 percent. However, satisfaction is a relative term, and many lawyers are happier in their careers as they become more senior.

Nell Jessup Newton, for instance, went to law school even though attorneys she knew told her it was a terrible profession.

“I said: ‘Compared to what?’ I’d been supporting myself as a secretary,” recounts Newton. A 1976 graduate of the University of California Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco, she is now its chancellor and dean.

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