Job Satisfaction Among Legal Professionals

Legal professionals have concerns about job satisfaction according to recent surveys.

Surveys conducted by the American Bar Association within the last five years have shown that disenchantment among both new and seasoned lawyers is widespread. Almost half of the respondents reported dissatisfaction in their careers and less than half said they would recommend the legal profession to others.

A majority of the lawyers believe that law schools are not adequately preparing students, especially in teaching them about the realities of the job. Consequently, many law students are expecting a career as a lawyer to bring them glamour, prestige, and big bucks.

Although there are highly compensated lawyers, they are primarily employed by very large firms that only make up about 1% of all law firms. Most lawyers make a lot less working in small firms, the public sector, and in government.

As for a glamorous life, the normal day of the average trial lawyer is not spent in courtroom trials. It involves many hours of tedious work such as gathering documents, document review, research, and drafting briefs, memorandums, and letters.

Another sector of the legal community is paralegals, and in contrast to lawyers, surveys show a high level of job satisfaction among them. Many report that they enjoy the challenges and constant opportunities for self-education, and most say that their salaries are satisfactory or excellent, although this varied in different parts of the country. But, there were also some complaints of salaries not being commensurate with duties, citing instances of paralegals doing the same work as entry-level attorneys, but being paid much less for it.

There were other areas where many paralegals desired improvement. High on the list was the desire to be more valued and appreciated by the lawyers they supported. Another drawback mentioned was lack of advancement opportunities.

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