The University of Michigan Law School Alumni Survey Project is a tradition. For many decades, the Law School has surveyed its graduates in hopes of better understanding the lives, opinions, and career paths of its diverse alumni as well as major trends in the legal profession and in practice.
The Law School makes two principal uses of the survey information it gathers. First, members of the Law School community use the data to assess the Law School’s policies and practices and to educate Michigan’s faculty and staff about the experiences of our students and alumni. Second, the Law School uses the data to inform its many graduates about the experiences and views of their classmates and other alumni.
Over the years, we have discovered a strong interest among our alumni in the results of our surveying efforts. The project assures anonymity to all respondents, of course, but the class reports put together by law school faculty and staff offer a wealth of information to our graduates about the experiences, opportunities, and challenges members of their class have faced in the years since their law school graduation.
On account of its high quality and long history, the survey project and its data on the evolution of legal careers is unmatched in American higher education. For more than a generation, scholars from many disciplines have turned to Michigan’s alumni research data when studying the legal profession, lawyers, or elite professionals more generally. Our bibliography of scholarly publications provides a list of many of the articles in which Michigan’s alumni data has been used or cited.
The alumni survey project’s questionnaires are administered at set yearly intervals to capture information about our graduates at different stages of their lives and careers. Questions explore a wide range of topics, including lifestyle issues and the characteristics of current legal (or non-legal) employment (such as job sector, status on the job, work activities, hours, job satisfaction, and pay). The five-year questionnaire also asks alumni to reflect on their law school activities and satisfaction, while the 35- and 45-year questionnaires ask our graduates about their retirement plans.
The project does not and never has had a relationship to Law School fundraising efforts.