Press Release

The American Lawyer’s Associates Survey Suggests Job Satisfaction Strongly Influenced by Law School Experience

The American Lawyer’s Associates Survey Suggests Job Satisfaction Strongly Influenced by Law School Experience

NEW YORK – August 27, 2014 – The Midlevel Associates Survey, published in the September issue of ALM’s The American Lawyer and online today at, found current job satisfaction of the 5,176 respondents is closely correlated with how well they feel their law schools prepared them for practice.

Duke Law School and the University of Michigan Law School produced the most satisfied of the nation’s largest law firms’ third-, fourth-, and fifth-year associates. Rounding out the top five were Loyola Law School, Los Angeles; Stanford Law School; and the University of Chicago. This is the first year that the annual survey asked about law school preparation.

Overall, associates reported the highest satisfaction levels in a decade, up slightly from last year. But women and African-Americans were less happy, and responses of gays and lesbians suggested retention trouble ahead.

Among the survey’s findings:

• African-Americans rated their firms lower than other ethnic minorities on the level of responsibility they are given and the fairness of evaluations.
• Women rated their firm-provided training in project management and client relations lower than men.
• Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender lawyers were less likely to plan to stay at their firms or see partnership as an important goal.
• Respondents in the South and West reported higher overall satisfaction than those in the North and Midwest.

The 10 firms whose associates reported the nation’s highest average satisfaction levels were, in order, Nutter McClennen & Fish; 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. Rankings were also published for 15 individual markets.

“We survey lawyers at this stage of their careers because they have ideas about what’s working and what’s not, they’re a profitable group for firms, and it’s in everyone’s interest to keep them satisfied,” said The American Lawyer’s Editor-in-Chief Kim Kleman.

Respondents rated their satisfaction with compensation and benefits, training and guidance, relations with partners and other associates, the interest and satisfaction level of their work, firm policy on billable hours, and management’s openness about firm strategies and partnership chances.

Full survey data are available for purchase in searchable, sortable Excel format from ALM Legal Intelligence at

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