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Marginally More Family-Friendly Options for Lawyers Than MBAs

A recent study by UC Berkeley associate professor Catherine Wolfram, a member of the Haas Economic Analysis and Policy Group, found that MBAs are more likely than MDs, and marginally more likely than JDs to leave the workforce and stay home with their children. Wolfram's study, based on surveys of nearly 1,000 Harvard undergraduate alumni, found that 15 years after graduation, 28 percent of the women who went on to get MBAs were stay-at-home mothers, compared to 21 percent of JDs and only 6 percent of MDs.   One explanation offered for the disparity is that businesswomen work longer hours and must often travel, while doctors who work in private practices might have an easier time working part time.  In addition, the study also found that:

[L]awyers do appear to have more family-friendly alternatives available. JD mothers who remained in the labor force were more likely to switch careers while MBA moms were twice as likely to merely quit.

Since the study reflects only a seven percent difference in the opt-out rates of MBAs and JDs, the conclusion that law offers more family-friendly alternatives seems shaky.  At the same time, at least it's good to know that as gloomy as the prospects for work/life balance at law firms may seem, it could be worse.

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on July 15, 2008 at 03:21 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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