After the JD 2: A Longitudinal Study of Careers in Transition, 2007-2008, United States (ICPSR 33584)
Principal Investigator(s): Nelson, Robert L., American Bar Foundation and Northwestern University; Dinovitzer, Ronit, American Bar Foundation and University of Toronto; Sterling, Joyce S., University of Denver Sturm College of Law; Garth, Bryant G., Southwestern Law School
The After the JD (AJD) project is a longitudinal study that is designed to track the careers of a nationally representative cohort of lawyers admitted to the bar in the year 2000. The first wave of the After the JD Study (AJD1) [ICPSR 26302] provided a snapshot of the personal lives and careers of this cohort about three years after they began practicing law. The second wave of the After the JD project (AJD2) seeks to illuminate the progression of lawyers' careers through roughly seven years in practice. The seventh year marks a crucial period in the careers of young lawyers. At the same time that they are facing important career decisions, these young lawyers are experiencing significant personal decisions about marriage and having children. AJD2 sought to locate and survey the entire original sample that was constructed in AJD1, even if a sample member had not been located or surveyed in AJD1. Only those individuals found to be ineligible for the study because they did not meet the required time period for obtaining their law degree and passing the bar were excluded. AJD2 obtained completed surveys of 3,705 eligible respondents, which includes 70.4 percent of the respondents to AJD1 (a group referred to as AJD1 Respondents) and 26.9 percent of those who were not surveyed in wave 1 (a group referred to as AJD1 Nonrespondents). The AJD2 data collection effort was launched in 2007 and completed in early 2008, with an overall response rate of 50.6 percent of eligible participants. As the legal profession has become more diverse in terms of entrants, it is critical to understand how women, men and women of color, individuals from less advantaged economic backgrounds, and other traditionally disadvantaged groups build careers. To examine the experiences of these groups at distinctive stages of their professional lives and to compare their career experiences to those of their peers, investigators were able to collect information about whether respondents' experiences were different from the outset or whether career trajectories diverge over time, what career strategies appear most successful for young lawyers, and whether these strategies vary by gender, race, and class; by legal market; by the selectivity of the law school from which lawyers graduate; or other dimensions. The AJD2 dataset allows for the analysis of a broad range of questions about the careers of lawyers and the social organization of the American legal profession. For example, some of the topics the study examines are: (1) demographic characteristics; (2) job mobility; (3) career satisfaction; (4) convergence/divergence in the career patterns of women and minorities; (5) indications of continuing inequality by gender; (6) family formation and the effects on professional careers; (7) career trajectories. AJD2 aims to provide a solid basis for future efforts to understand the changing character of legal careers. The final phase of the AJD2 data collection ended before the onslaught of the global financial crisis in the fall of 2008. Consequently, the data do not account for the profound effects of these turbulent events. The third wave of the study (AJD3) anticipates investigating these issues and many other similarly important transitions.