After the JD - Wave 1: A Longitudinal Study of Legal Careers in Transition Data Collection: May 2002-May 2003, United States (ICPSR 26302)

Published: Aug 13, 2013

Principal Investigator(s):
Bryant G. Garth, Southwestern Law School, and American Bar Foundation; Joyce Sterling, University of Denver. Sturm College of Law; Richard Sander, University of California-Los Angeles. School of Law

Version V2

The After the JD project is designed to be a longitudinal study, seeking to follow a sample of approximately 10 percent of all the individuals who became lawyers in the year of 2000. This study aims to track the professional lives of more than 5,000 lawyers during their first 10 years after law school. Wave 1 of the After the JD study was launched in May 2002. The sample includes new lawyers from 18 legal markets -- ranging from the 4 largest markets (New York City, District of Columbia, Chicago, and Los Angeles) to 14 other areas consisting of small metropolitan areas to entire states. Some of the topics that the study seeks to examine are: (1) Demographic characteristics; (2) financing of legal education; (3) law school and the transition to practice; (4) practice settings within which lawyers work; (5) distribution of income across the profession; (6) dimensions of satisfaction; (7) mobility and turnover. Respondents were asked to give information concerning their employment status, job responsibilities, professional skills, job support, job satisfaction, and job discrimination. Information was sought about respondents' workplace characteristics, employment details, areas of practice, clientele, billing hours, job history, judicial clerkships, bar admission, alternate career considerations, and job offers. Opinions were collected about what respondents thought the most important factors were in obtaining a job offer and their first job, in determining which sector to begin their professional career, and in choosing an employer. Further questions asked about political participation and participation in social and community organizations. A number of questions were asked about respondents' undergraduate education, their transition to law school and decision to attend law school, their law school education and activities, their educational financing and debt, and their transition to their legal career. Demographic variables include sex, race, age, marital status, household makeup, personal income, household income, spouses' occupation, political party affiliation, parent's nationality, parent's education, parent's occupation when the respondent was in high school, and whether anyone in the respondent's family was a lawyer.

Garth, Bryant G., Sterling, Joyce, and Sander, Richard. After the JD - Wave 1: A Longitudinal Study of Legal Careers in Transition Data Collection: May 2002-May 2003, United States. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2013-08-13.

Export Citation:

  • RIS (generic format for RefWorks, EndNote, etc.)
  • EndNote

American Bar Foundation

Access Group, Inc.

Law School Admission Council

National Association for Law Placement

Open Society Foundations

National Science Foundation (0115521)

2002-05 -- 2003-05

2002-05-20 -- 2003-05-30

Additional information about this project is available on the After the JD Web site.

The second wave of the After the JD project was completed between 2007 and 2008 (see ICPSR 33584); the third wave should be completed about 10 years into the respondents' careers.

The variable ASU_ID is an ID linking variable for Wave 1 and Wave 2 of the After the JD study.

The After the JD study utilizes a two-stage scientific sampling approach, first selecting among metropolitan areas (or non-metropolitan portions of states) to obtain a wide geographic and population size distribution of geographic areas, and second, selecting individuals who meet individual eligibility criteria. In the first stage, the nation was divided into 18 strata by region and size of the new lawyer population. Within each stratum one primary sampling unit (PSU) -- metropolitan area, portion of a state outside large metropolitan areas, or entire state -- was selected. The PSU's included all 4 major markets, those with more than 2000 new lawyers (Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Washington, DC); 5 of the 9 large markets, those with between 750 and 2,000 lawyers; and 9 of the remaining smaller markets. In the second stage, individuals were sampled from each of the PSU's at rates that would, combined, generalize to the national population. Additionally, an oversample of 1,465 new lawyers from minority groups (Black, Hispanic, and Asian American) was added. The final sample included just over 9,192 lawyers in the 18 PSU's.


Persons who first became members of a state bar in the year 2000, and who graduated from law school in the period July 1, 1998, through June 30, 2000, in the United States.


aggregate data

survey data

The number of eligible individuals for After the JD Wave 1 was 4,538, which equals a response rate of 71 percent.



2013-08-13 This data collection has been updated with an ID variable (ASU_ID) that can be used to link the 1st and 2nd wave data. A number of small changes are also being made to correct for typos and to standardize the series.

2010-07-15 ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Created variable labels and/or value labels.
  • Created online analysis version with question text.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.

This study contains three weight variables: awt_nat_nr, awt_min_nr, and awt_comb_nr. Wave 1 awt_nat_nr (N=32,895) National Sample Selection Probability Weight adjusted for non-response. Weight should be used with the National Sample Cases when making estimates of the characteristics. Wave 1 awt_min_nr (N=3,530) Minority Sample Selection Probability Weight adjusted for non-response. Weight should be used when making estimates of the characteristics of minority persons. Wave 1 awt_comb_nr (N=32,436) Joint National/Minority Sample Selection Probability Weight adjusted for non-response weight takes into account the possibility that an individual could be selected into both the National and Minority Samples, thus it adjusts for the probability of dual selection.


  • Data in this collection are available only to users at ICPSR member institutions.

ICPSR logo

This study is provided by ICPSR. ICPSR provides leadership and training in data access, curation, and methods of analysis for a diverse and expanding social science research community.