Satisfaction with workplace experiences is an important retention factor. The attorney census asked survey respondents to indicate their satisfaction with 15 areas of the workplace that impact: (1) individual careers, (2) the collective workplace, and (3) work-life balance. The analyses below are based on composites that represent an overall satisfaction rating for each these three domains based on three to seven areas. Each domain and its areas are listed below. Learn how these composites were constructed.
Sector Variation in Workplace Satisfaction
Figure 23 explores workplace satisfaction for each domain, disaggregated by employment sector. There is minimal variation in satisfaction with individual career issues by sector. However, nonprofit attorneys report the highest satisfaction with collective workplace and work-life balance issues (83 and 79 percent, respectively). All three private subsectors (corporations, law firms, and other private settings) report lower satisfaction with work-life balance than attorneys working in the government and nonprofit sectors.
Workplace Satisfaction by Demographic Characteristics
Attorneys who identify as non-binary (white and of color) report the lowest satisfaction levels with workplace experiences across all three domains. The satisfaction gap between white men and women of color is largest in workplace experiences related to individual careers. Attorneys with disabilities also report lower satisfaction levels in workplace experiences related to both individual careers and the collective workplace compared with total attorneys.
Key Issues for Women of Color
Attorneys were asked to rate their satisfaction with 15 areas of the workplace. Figure 25 explores the two areas with the largest gaps in satisfaction between women of color and white men and women.
Increasing Workplace Satisfaction
As described above, attorneys were asked to rate their satisfaction with 15 areas of the workplace. A separate question asked attorneys to select the top five that would need to increase for their overall satisfaction to increase. The analysis below highlights key findings.
Figure 26. Top Five Areas of the Workplace that Need to Improve for Employee Satisfaction to Increase: Highlights
“Compensation and benefits” is ranked as the top area of desired improvement by all attorneys and demographic groups analyzed.
“Ability to make a difference in/for my community” is the second-highest area selected by white men and attorneys who work in law firms and other private noncorporate settings.
“Professional development resources and support” is the second-highest area selected by women, nonbinary, attorneys of color, LGBTQIA+, attorneys with disabilities, veterans, and attorneys working in nonprofit settings.
“Alternative work schedules/flexible hours” is a top-five area for women, transgender attorneys, attorneys with disabilities, veterans, and attorneys across all employment sectors except for corporate settings.
“Mentorship and sponsorship opportunities for advancement” is a top-five area for attorneys of color, nonbinary attorneys, LGBTQIA+, attorneys with disabilities, and attorneys who work in corporate, government, and nonprofit settings.
Compensation: A Closer Look
Most attorneys (69 percent) report earning an annual salary of less than $200,000 from all sources. Nearly one in four reports earning a salary between $200,000 to $399,000 (see figure 27). Two percent of attorneys reported earning $1,000,000 or more annually. Figure 28 contains reported annual salaries disaggregated by race/ethnicity and gender identity. For example, white male attorneys are more likely to report earnings higher than $200,000 than all other groups.
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