AAI Director Roberta Liebenberg Publishes “Practicing in the Pandemic”

AAI Director Roberta Liebenberg and Stephanie Scharf published findings from a national survey of 4,200 members of the American Bar Association. “Practicing Law in the Pandemic and Moving Forward,” covers how the pandemic has affected lawyers and the future plans for law practice as the worldwide health crisis winds down.:

The authors said “The report calls out for new approaches to challenges that have been heightened by the pandemic, which have disproportionately affected women lawyers and lawyers of color, and which will impact how well corporations and law firms move forward.”

Among the findings:

  • Lawyers feel overwhelmed by the pressures of their work — especially women with children and lawyers of color — with many considering leaving the legal profession.
  • More than a third of respondents (35%) are thinking significantly more often about working part time. Women with children age 5 or younger (53%) and women with children age 6-13 (41%), were even more likely to be thinking about part-time work.
  • Lawyers are stressed about workplace resources, recognition and job security. At the top of the list were worries about a salary reduction (55%), getting furloughed or laid off (40%) and advancement (28%).
  • Clear pathways to advancement are viewed as important throughout the profession, and especially valued by lawyers of color (57%) and women (58%).
  • Lawyers want their employers to provide programs and policies around wellness, better resources for working parents and comprehensive plans for family leave and sick leave.
  • Lawyers are seeking a culture where leaders are engaged, empathic and show that they value the effort and contributions made throughout the organization.