National Survey of Lawyers' Career Satisfaction, Wave I, 1984, and Wave II, 1990 (ICPSR 8975)

Published: Nov 4, 2005

Principal Investigator(s):
Ronald L. Hirsch

Version V3

The purpose of this data collection was to assess career satisfaction among young lawyers throughout the United States. The questionnaire was designed to include as many factors as possible that might reasonably affect job satisfaction. The 1984 survey solicited information on lawyers' job descriptions, educational background, psychological characteristics, and basic demographics. Other questions pertained to job setting, substantive law areas of the respondent, geographical area in which the law firm was located, time spent each day on certain projects, and job stress. The 1990 survey posed questions identical to those in the 1984 survey, and added items covering part-time work, referral plans, sexual harassment in the workplace, gender and racial biases, reasons for changing jobs, drug use, disabilities, law school activities, and weighted job satisfaction scales.

Hirsch, Ronald L. National Survey of Lawyers’ Career Satisfaction, Wave I, 1984, and Wave II, 1990. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2005-11-04.

Export Citation:

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

American Bar Association. Young Lawyers Division

1984 (Wave I)

1990 (Wave II)

1984-02 -- 1984-04

1990-03 -- 1990-05

In Part 1, 1984 Survey Data, the variable MATCHID can be used to match subjects in the 1984 data file with those in the 1990 data file (both files are already sorted by MATCHID). The variable RESPOND can be used to select those 1984 subjects present in the 1990 file. Missing data was not standardized in Part 2, 1990 Survey Data.

In 1984, three target groups were identified: lawyers 36 years of age and over who belonged to the American Bar Association (ABA), members of the ABA under 36 years old, excluding law students, and all lawyers in the nonmember files kept by the ABA. A systematic random probability sample was drawn to represent each of the three groups of lawyers involved in the survey. The group of lawyers under 36 years of age was oversampled. In the 1990 survey, the 1984 respondents were reinterviewed. Also, a systematic random sample was drawn of all lawyers admitted to the Bar after 1983.

For 1984 data: all lawyers admitted to the ABA in the United States prior to 1983. For 1990 data: all lawyers admitted to the ABA in the United States after 1983.

mail and telephone interviews

survey data



2005-11-04 On 2005-03-14 new files were added to one or more datasets. These files included additional setup files as well as one or more of the following: SAS program, SAS transport, SPSS portable, and Stata system files. The metadata record was revised 2005-11-04 to reflect these additions.

1989-03-03 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:

  • Standardized missing values.


  • The public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.

NACJD logo

This dataset is maintained and distributed by the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD), the criminal justice archive within ICPSR. NACJD is primarily sponsored by three agencies within the U.S. Department of Justice: the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.