February 09, 2012 Practice Points

Most Part-Time Attorneys Are Female

By Jocelyn Neudauer

According to a recent study [PDF] conducted by the National Association for Law Placement (NALP), more males are entering part-time work; however, female workers continue to comprise the overwhelming majority of part-time attorneys. Indeed, the study found that overall, women represent 70 percent of those employed part-time. The study was based on analysis of information concerning part-time use in 1,269 law offices and firms, and for more than 125,000 attorneys.

Although 98 percent of the law firms reviewed in 2011 allow part-time work, many individuals do not take advantage of the shorter, albeit still long, hours of part-time work. The study found that only 6.2 percent of all attorneys at big law firms work part-time. This percentage is a decrease from a high of 6.4 percent in 2010, but an increase from 2.4 percent in 1994 when NALP began collecting this data.

According to NALP, 13.4 percent of female attorneys work part-time compared to 2.7 percent of male attorneys. While the numbers are not staggering, the study did find an increase in the number of male attorneys employed part-time at the partnership level. Specifically, out of all partners working part-time, 66 percent are female and 34 percent are male. For male partners, this number reflects an increase of 6 percent from 2006.

The NALP study also found differences in the rate of part-time work based on location. For example, the study found that only 2.4 percent of attorneys in Birmingham, Alabama work part-time, and all are female. In contrast, in Washington D.C., 4.4 percent of the partners work part-time and 6.1 percent of associates work part-time.

Overall, the part-time field remains mostly populated by women, but with more male partners going part-time than ever before.

Keywords: woman advocate, litigation, part-time, NALP, career

Jocelyn Neudauer, Law Student, San Diego, CA

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