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52 Vand. L. Rev. 971 (1999)
Cross-Examining the Myth of Lawyers' Misery

handle is hein.journals/vanlr52 and id is 995 raw text is: Cross-Examining the Myth of
Lawyers' Misery
Kathleen E. Hull*
This comment will address one important aspect of Professor
Schiltz's broader argument, namely his contention that the legal pro-
fession is afflicted with widespread job dissatisfaction. More specifi-
cally, Schiltz makes the following assertions about lawyers' unhappi-
ness with their professional lives: (1) dissatisfaction is high; (2)
dissatisfaction is increasing; and (3) dissatisfaction is highest among
lawyers in private practice in large firms.' Using data from a recent
survey of Chicago attorneys2 as well as other studies of lawyers' job
satisfaction, including those cited by Schiltz, I will address each of
these points in turn.
At first glance, the evidence on job satisfaction among lawyers
may appear mixed, but upon closer inspection it becomes clear that
the most valid, well-designed research has produced little if any sup-
port for the notion that lawyers are unhappy in their work. The
studies cited by Schiltz range from trade journal surveys to more seri-
ous scholarly enterprises, and the significance we attach to their
findings should be in direct proportion to the validity and reliability of
the research techniques employed. For example, we have no way to
assess the quality of the data produced by the fax poll conducted by
*   The Author is a doctoral candidate in sociology at Northwestern University and a
research assistant at the American Bar Foundation. Direct all correspondence to Kathleen E.
Hull, Department of Sociology, Northwestern University, 1810 Chicago Ave., Evanston, IL
60208. The Author gratefully acknowledges the helpful feedback received from several
colleagues, including John Heinz, Edward Laumann, Heather Macindoe, and Ethan Michelson.
1.  See Patrick J. Schiltz, On Being a Happy, Healthy, and Ethical Member of an
Unhappy, Unhealthy, and Unethical Profession, 52 VAND. L. REV. 871, 881, 882-84, 886-88
2.  For an overview of the job satisfaction findings in the Chicago study, see John P.
Heinz et al., Lawyers and Their Discontents: Findings from a Survey of the Chicago Bar, 74
IND. L.J. 735 (1999).

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