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The Career Trajectories of Urban Law Graduates. Ronit Dinovitzer Department of Sociology University of Toronto ronit.dinovitzer@utoronto.ca. After the JD Study. Nationally representative sample of lawyers in the US who began practice in the year 2000

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The Career Trajectories of Urban Law Graduates

Ronit Dinovitzer

Department of Sociology

University of Toronto

ronit.dinovitzer@utoronto.ca


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After the JD Study

  • Nationally representative sample of lawyers in the US who began practice in the year 2000

  • Longitudinal design (contacts in 2002, 2007, 2010)

  • Mail Questionnaires and telephone interviews with nonrespondents (fielded in May 2002)

  • 71% response rate of those who were located (n=4500)

  • In depth, face to face interviews with a subsample of respondents

  • Comparison to lawyers in the general population:

    • Racial composition of young lawyers in the 2000 Census (AJD 5.6% Black vs. 6.1% in Census data)

    • Distribution of lawyers across firms, government, and business employers (AJD 70% in private firms vs. 68% Census data)

    • Gender composition (AJD 46.2% female vs. 46.0% ABA)


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Rearranging the hierarchy

  • The “urban” law schools

    • Definition: urban settings, ranked 32-178

    • Socio-historical role

      • YMCA, night law schools, Catholic law schools

      • Access mission: Alfred Reed (1931)

        • “the mission of an evening or part-time law school is to enable young men and women, who cannot afford to attend a better school, to prepare themselves for legal practice.”

      • Immigrants, working-class

      • Placements


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Urban law schools

  • Changes over time

    • Current patterns by race and immigrant status

      • Almost 25% of top ten graduates report both parents born outside of US vs. 11% at urban law schools

      • Top ten schools also have the highest percentage of African American students (8%) vs. 5% at urban law schools

    • Tuition: Capital law school 27k, Golden Gate Law School 29k, Northeastern 35k


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The intersection of two trends…

  • 1) Growth in the profession

  • 2) Growth of large law firms:

    • [L]aw firms in the Am Law 200 … now require about 10,000 new associates each year out of about 40,000 graduates coming from all of the nation’s approximately 200 law schools combined.

    • Ward Bower, Consultant at Altman Weill

  • Where do urban law graduates work?

    • Focus on the large law firm


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    Table 1 (cont’d). Demographic characteristics by type of law school

    Urban Law School with PT program

    Urban Law School with FT program

    Catholic Law School (excluding non urban)

    Independent Law School (excluding non urban)

    Elite top 10

    Elite top 31

    Gender, Age, and Family

    Female

    48%

    45%

    51%

    50%

    45%

    44%

    29%

    17%

    24%

    36%

    8%

    11%

    Over 36 years old

    Married

    59%

    60%

    56%

    56%

    43%

    53%

    Have Kids

    32%

    34%

    25%

    37%

    13%

    26%


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    Where do Urban Graduates work? law school

    • Focus on all urban law school graduates compared to elite law school graduates

    • Focus on large law firms (defined as >100 lawyers in the entire firm)


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    Practice Settings: law school

    17.3%

    51.7%


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    Which Urban Graduates go to Large Firms? law school

    • Focus on comparing urban graduates in large law firms with those working in other settings

    • Compare urban graduates in large law firms with elite law school graduates in large law firms


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    A. Credentials law school




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    Do the same factors that matter for Urban graduates matter for Elite graduates?Subsamples: Regression of Factors For Large Firm Jobs


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    Working in the large law firm for Elite graduates?

    • Compare the experience of urban law graduates with elite law graduates working in large law firms


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    Urban total: for Elite graduates?

    80.4%


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    Speculating about Ontario (with Gillian Hadfield) for Elite graduates?

    • LSAT scores above 160

      • University of Toronto: 83%

      • Western: 27%

      • Osgoode Hall 24%, etc

    • Undergraduate GPA above 3.67

      • University of Toronto Over 50%

      • Osgoode 39%,

      • Ottawa 19%,

      • Western 15%, etc

    • Percent working in large (51+) firms (source OLSAS & MIF - 1998 graduates):

      • University of Toronto 49%

      • Osgoode 26%

      • Windsor 17%