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Law Quadrangle (formerly Law Quad Notes)

Abstract

This article by Professor Chambers began with data from the periodic surveys of Law School alumni he has conducted. It is adapted from an article Professor Chambers published in the journal Law and Social Inquiry.

Women first entered the legal profession in large numbers in the 1970s. The same movement that brought them into the profession also sought to deliver messages to men that they ought to participate more in the raising of children. How, over the years that have followed, have men and women lawyers responded to the multiple roles of home and work? How satisfied are they with the balance they have struck and with their careers overall?

This article draws on data from a study conducted at three points in time of the graduates in the late 1970s of the University of Michigan Law School. The study has reached some conclusions that might be expected and others that might not. Women lawyers who are parents continue to bear substantially greater burdens for the care of children than men. Men, on the other hand, have altered their careers very little in order to participate in families. And yet, despite the pressures of their multiple roles, the Michigan women in general and those with children in particular have been satisfied with their careers and generally satisfied with the balance of their family and professional lives. In fact, five years after law school, and again seven to ten years after law school, the women with children report themselves, as a group, somewhat more satisfied with their careers and with the balance of their family and professional lives than women without children and than men, with or without children, report themselves to be.

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