Figures Don’t Lie…

Photo by Markus Winkler at Pexels

By Murray Gottheil | April 24, 2024

The following recent headline in Law360 caught my attention: “Law360 Canada Pulse survey shows strong satisfaction among lawyers with their jobs.”

Although I love Law360 and think very highly of its writers, the headline took me aback because it does not ring true with my lived experience or what I am hearing from the trenches.

It turns out that Law360 has done a survey that shows that nearly 70% of lawyers are either satisfied or very satisfied with their jobs.

These folks are going to put me out of a ‘job’ (an ‘activity’ really, since I mostly do not get paid for my ranting about what is wrong with the legal profession).

My first reaction was that they certainly have not been talking to the same people that I have been speaking to, which turns out to be the case because the survey is based on 133 responses from firms with more than 50 lawyers.

So, the profession is happy, so long as you do not ask people who are not working for any but the largest medium-sized firms, or Big Law.

I imagine that if you ask the people who are earning the most money in the profession, that might skew the results a tad.

And if you don’t speak to the many women who were forced to bail from Big Law, that might also move the needle.

And of course, if you focus on firms with more than 50 lawyers, you likely will not get an over-representation of the views of internationally trained lawyers.

And the thousands and thousands of solo or small firm practitioners – who really cares what they think anyway?

Let’s not even get into a sample size of 133 out of 57,000 lawyers (in 2023). I am not particularly good at decimal places (which is why I became a lawyer instead of an accountant), but I think that amounts to 0.002% of the licensed lawyers in Ontario.

I believe that studying the happiness of lawyers is a great idea, and this survey may well be a good start, but perhaps should be redone with a more representative sample group.  At a minimum, they could work on the headline.  May I humbly suggest, Most of a Small Group of Lawyers Making A Lot of Money in Law Firms of Over Fifty Lawyers are Happy With Their Jobs.

Murray is a happily retired lawyer who lives in the country, drives a pick-up truck, writes, teaches and mentors. You can reach him at [email protected] or see what he is up to at


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