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NALP Survey Finds Most Part-timers in Law Firms Are Women but Percentage of Men Increasing

The recently released report of NALP from its NALP Directory of Legal Employers, finds a healthy trend of numbers of part-timers at law firms dropping for the third consecutive year. The NALP also found that while the major portion of part-timers in law firms constitutes women, the numbers of men working as part-timers are increasing despite an overall drop in the number of part-timers at law firms. The findings were made based on analyses from the 2013-2014 directory which comprises listings from large law firms and includes part-time use information for over 113, 000 lawyers and over 1, 000 individual law offices.

Key findings of the report have been published on 27th February, 2014, as a press release titled "Rate of Part-time Work Among Lawyers Drops for Third Year in 2013, Especially Among Women, But Most Working Part-time Are Women." Of course the report contains much more than what is indicated by the title, and we, at BCG Attorney Search, found the following points of the NALP report most relevant for our readers.

One of the most interesting points is that the NALP found the percentage of employees in part-time jobs in the legal industry to be significantly different from other industries, and serves as a distinguishing factor. While according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, overall 13.7% of employed individuals during 2012 worked part time, and 13.1% of professionals were employed part time (including professionals like engineers, architects, lawyers and physicians), when it came to lawyers working at major law firms, the NALP found only 6.1% were part-time workers.

The NALP also found that in 2013, 90.6% of associates working part-time were women, and 63.1% of law firm partners working part-time were women. However, the percentage of part-time law firm partners who are men has gone up over the last seven years from 28% to 36.9%.

James Leipold the NALP's Executive Director, said, "The utilization of part-time schedules for all lawyers has dropped now for three years in a row, and it has dropped for both partners and associates. Given the direction the data is heading, I feel confident calling this a post-recessionary trend at this point,"

Leipold stressed further, "We have also seen utilization drop for women, and actually rise just slightly for men. That is a bit surprising. … We can identify the trend but we cannot say why it is happening. It may be that in this economic climate there is a perceived pressure to not utilize the part-time option. … Law has always been an outlier among the professions for part-time utilization, but with nearly universal availability at this point, it is surprising to see utilization among large law firm lawyers falling even further.

"One other finding worth emphasizing," noted Leipold, "is that the disparity in utilization between men and women, while still vast, is gradually closing."

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