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After the JD

The Beginning of a Longitudinal Study...

The project known as "After the JD – The First 10 Years" or AJD, is the first and most ambitious effort to gather systematic, detailed data about the careers and experiences of a national cross-section of law graduates.  It was a concept first proffered by members of the National Association for Law Placement (NALP) more than 40 years ago. 

Legal career services and recruitment administrators in the mid-1970’s were hungry for information that would help them in their efforts to counsel, recruit, hire and develop young attorneys. They dreamed of a longitudinal study that would follow the careers of lawyers over time and identify the influences on their job choice decisions.  So they sketched out the scope of a research study that might provide them with answers and submitted it for consideration to NALP’s leadership.

Although it was a research project that was sorely needed, the magnitude and cost of implementing it far exceeded the capacity and resources of the organization at the time. Thus the research concept was relegated to a file folder and status as “wishful thinking” for many years.

In 1996, Paula Patton, NALP’s Executive Director, reopened that file folder and after envisioning that such a study could mean to the profession, asked the Board to consider the possibilities.  They did so by commissioning the development of a prospectus to explore the methodology and funding for undertaking the systematic research study of lawyer careers. The prospectus affirmed that a study of this type was rich with value and possibilities, thus NALP took the bold step of creating  The NALP Foundation, a 501c3 organization dedicated to research and education on lawyer careers.  The responsibility for and ownership of the prospectus was transferred to the Foundation and during the past 12 years, the Foundation has actively sponsored the project, gained the commitment of a select group of the nation’s leading legal scholars and social science researchers, and with the sponsorship and leadership of the Soros Foundation, the American Bar Foundation, NALP, the Law School Admission Council, Access Group, and the National Science Foundation, secured the funding to implement the study.  more...