Money isn’t keeping lawyers happy, survey finds

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It’s improving society that makes lawyers happy, not boosting profits, according to a recent study.

Surveying its alumni, Northeastern University School of Law in Massachusetts asked 4,939 graduates who graduated between 1971 and 2012 about their job satisfaction and what influenced them to become a lawyer. 

The results found that even lawyers aren’t salary happy.

A total of 833 graduates completed the survey, putting control of work process and level of responsibility, as well as relationships with colleagues, as highly satisfactory, far higher up the list than compensation, workplace diversity and even opportunities for advancement.  

“Often lawyers go into law with grand plans of making a difference and then end up down the track moving across to do more pro bono,” said legal recruiter Jason Elias.

“Often they are prepared to trade off flexibility and type of work.”

But he did say that he doesn’t believe Aussie lawyers are totally dissatisfied with their pay.

“Generally lawyers I speak to are always looking for a higher salary but deep down are probably fairly content with the general levels,” he said.

Interestingly, among the Northeastern graduates, the reasons for attending law school remained helping individuals and improving society, along with developing a satisfying career, according to a Bloomberg report on the survey.