After the JD, Wave 3: A Longitudinal Study of Careers in Transition, 2012-2013, United States (ICPSR 35480)

Version Date: Nov 25, 2014 View help for published

Principal Investigator(s): View help for Principal Investigator(s)
Robert Nelson, American Bar Foundation; Ronit Dinovitzer, American Bar Foundation; Gabriele Plickert, American Bar Foundation; Joyce Sterling, University of Denver. Sturm College of Law; Bryant G. Garth, University of California-Irvine, and American Bar Foundation


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The After the JD (AJD) project is a longitudinal study that was designed to track the careers of a nationally representative cohort of lawyers admitted to the bar in the year 2000. This collection is the third wave of the After the JD Project. The first wave of the After the JD project (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) [ICPSR 33584] sought to illuminate the progression of lawyers' careers through roughly seven years in practice. The third wave (AJD3) continued to shed light on lawyers' 12-year professional and personal pathways. After 12 years, the AJD lawyers had a decade of work experience behind them, and the contours of their careers were more clearly shaped. Throughout their professional careers, these lawyers had experienced important transitions (such as promotion to partnership, marriage, and job changes), which were only in process by Wave 2. AJD3 marked a significant milestone, essential to assess the personal and career trajectories of this cohort of lawyers. AJD3 sought to locate and survey only individuals who had previously responded to either AJD1 or AJD2. Sample members who never responded to any survey wave were not located in AJD3. The AJD3 data collection started in May 2012 and was completed in early 2013. The dataset allowed for the analysis of a broad range of questions about the careers of lawyers and the social organization of the American legal profession. Topics covered include current professional employment, impact of economic downturn, type of work, clients, mentors, employment history, social, political, and community participation, and background and family information. Demographics include ethnicity, employment status, sexuality, marital status, age, and gender.

Nelson, Robert, Dinovitzer, Ronit, Plickert, Gabriele, Sterling, Joyce, and Garth, Bryant G. After the JD, Wave 3: A Longitudinal Study of Careers in Transition, 2012-2013, United States. Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2014-11-25.

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National Science Foundation (SES 1023067), NALP Foundation for Law Career Research and Education, American Bar Foundation, National Association for Law Placement

United States

Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research

2012-05 -- 2013-01
2012-05 -- 2013-01
  1. This is the third wave of the After the JD (AJD) project. AJD Wave 1 and Wave 2 are also available from ICPSR (ICPSR 26302 and ICPSR 33584).

  2. ASU_ID is an ID variable that allows Wave 1, Wave 2, and Wave 3 datasets of the After the JD (ADJ) study to be merged.

  3. The submitted data file represents the public data. To get access to the restricted AJD3 data (i.e., the full data file) individuals should contact Robert Nelson, the principal investigator, under

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


This study used a two-stage scientific sampling approach, first, selecting among metropolitan areas (or non-metropolitan portions of states) to obtain a wide distribution of geographic areas with different population densities and, second, selecting individuals who met 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) was selected -- either a metropolitan area, a portion of a state outside large metropolitan areas, or an entire state. The PSUs included all four major markets, those with more than 2000 new lawyers per year (Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Washington, DC); five of the nine large markets, those with between 750 and 2,000 new lawyers a year; and nine of the remaining smaller markets. In the second stage, individuals were sampled from each of the PSUs at rates that would, when combined and properly weighted, generalize to the national population of new lawyers. Additionally, an oversample of 1,465 new lawyers from minority groups (Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians) was added. The final (original) sample included just over 8,000 lawyers in the 18 PSUs. Additional information about sampling is available in earlier reports on AJD1 and AJD2 ("After the JD: First Results of a National Study of Legal Careers," 2004; "After the JD: Second Results from a National Study of Legal Careers," 2009). After the JD contains a random sample of lawyers who passed the bar exam in 2000 in the United States. For more information on sampling and where the earlier reports can be found, please visit the After the JD Web Site.


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.


This study obtained complete surveys from 2,862 respondents, for a response rate of 53 percent of individuals who previously responded to either AJD1 or AJD2. This amounted to a response rate of about 35 percent of the initial sample of 8,225 established in 2002.



2018-02-15 The citation of this study may have changed due to the new version control system that has been implemented. The previous citation was:
  • Nelson, Robert, Ronit Dinovitzer, Gabriele Plickert, Joyce Sterling, and Bryant G. Garth. After the JD, Wave 3: A Longitudinal Study of Careers in Transition, 2012-2013, United States. ICPSR35480-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2014-11-25.

2014-11-25 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 online analysis version with question text.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.

The data are not weighted. The collection contains two weight variables that users may wish to apply during analysis: CWT_NAT_NR and CWT_MIN_NR. Variable CWT_NAT_NR is used with national sample cases when making estimates of characteristics of the population represented by the national sample. Variable CWT_MIN_NR is used when making estimates of the characteristics of minority persons.