The kind of people who persevere with the practice of law

November 13, 2014 | By | 2 Replies More

Conclusions like these do make me stop and think, given that I’ve survived the practice of law for more than 30 years.

Law firms seeking to hire lawyers more likely to stay in law practice should be forewarned: Lawyers with “higher levels of resilience, empathy, initiative and sociability” are more likely to leave law practice than those with lower levels of those traits.

That finding is from an online assessment of more than 1,400 people by Right Profile and JD Match that sought to improve hiring by matching lawyers’ practice areas with personality traits,


Category: Psychology Cognition

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (2)

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  1. grumpypilgrim says:

    The 60% attrition rate in the first five years struck me as astonishingly high, until I remembered that most law firms are notorious for intentionally hiring far more associates than they will ever promote to partner, then working those folks to death. Maybe it’s not as bad as it was 30 years ago (when I was considering a legal career), but I don’t imagine it has changed a whole lot. Moreover, law school is a financial trap for many students, which probably also contributes to this high attrition rate. In every first-year law class, a large percentage of students are there not because they want to be lawyers; they are there either to please their parents (i.e., they didn’t get into med school, they have a parent who is (or wishes s/he were) a lawyer, etc.) or because they did well on the LSAT and thought that was a good reason to go to law school. They are unhappy after the first year, but write it off because the first year is misery for everyone. They are more unhappy after the second year, but by then they only have one year left, so they figure they might as well finish. After they graduate, they have crippling student loans and, more than likely, no other marketable skills; so, they have little choice but to pursue a high-paying job with a firm. They do this, work like dogs for a few years to pay down their loans, then bail. In some ways, they are the lucky ones; the unlucky ones either continue to work like dogs because they have fallen in love with the money, or they don’t ever get a high-paying job with a firm and so must work like dogs much longer to pay down their loans.

  2. Tim Hogan says:

    I am a trial attorney. I still see the practice of law as a calling. My daily work is to stand for others where the cannot or fear to go. I make agreement where there is none. I have the opportunity and ability to be a critical difference between the good happening rather than the so often bad for people so often without a voice or resources. So, of course, after nearly 30 years, I still have an underfunded retirement and often get smiles, handshakes and thanks as my only fee. My children will know the world as one of compassion and generosity as true strengths. My wife is a saint.

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