The University of Maryland School of Law has recently completed a major survey of its alumni and alumnae to better understand their professional and personal career paths. Professors Jana Singer and Paula Monopoli are leading a research project that will explore the decisions graduates make in shaping their careers, rate their satisfaction with those decisions, and offer recommendations to law firms and other legal employers for enhancing career satisfaction and work-life balance in the profession. More than 600 graduates took the survey during the summer and fall of 2008.
Preliminary results will be discussed at the "Hard Facts: Retaining and Advancing Women Lawyers in Challenging Economic Times" on Friday, April 24, 2009. The workshop is free, but advance registration is required. A final report will be presented in September 2009.
The project is being conducted under the auspices of the Women, Leadership & Equality Program in collaboration with the Law School's Office of Institutional Advancement and the Career Development Office, together with the Project for Attorney Retention, an initiative of the Center for Worklife Law at the University of California Hastings College of Law.
“We will learn how our graduates have constructed their professional careers, and integrated them with their personal and family lives,” said Professor Singer. “What are the factors that are graduates view as most important as they chart their careers: compensation, rewarding work, valued colleagues, job flexibility? We hope to correlate employment settings with satisfaction levels, and offer suggestions for legal employers – who are quite concerned with retention issues – about what would make lawyers want to stay.”
“Our graduates purse an incredibly diverse range of career paths. It will be exciting to look closely at the decisions that have shaped their careers and understand those choices’ impact on career satisfaction,” said Associate Dean for Institutional Advancement Teresa K. LaMaster ’95.
“Our hope is that in revealing some of the challenges our graduates face in choosing their career paths, the survey will give us a window into some of their needs,” said Dana Morris, Assistant Dean for Career Development. “This information may help us provide programming related to career decision-making for alums.”
Professor Singer is optimistic that the survey will ultimately help graduates enhance their career satisfaction and better balance their work and professional lives.
“This is a chance for our graduates to communicate with each other, with their law school, and with the legal profession about what matters most in their careers,” she said.