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Monday, March 24, 2008

Study: Childless women are the most 'productive' lawyers

Carol Elefant at Legal Blog Watch and the Wall Street Journal Law Blog report today on an interesting recent British study finding that the most productive lawyers of all are childless females. At the bottom of the list? Women with young children.

It's a study whose results are sure to offend -- particularly given that the methodology is subject to attack. As Elefant points out in her piece, the sole criteria used to determine productivity is the number of hours billed.

"[A]s we all know, hours billed don't necessarily correlate to efficiency; indeed, longer hours may signal less productivity, not more," Elefant writes. "I'd be curious to see, for example, whether women lawyers manage to complete tasks more quickly precisely because they have less time. If that's the case (and I suspect it is), perhaps having children makes them more productive, not less."

Interestingly, the study found the opposite was true of men -- i.e. male lawyers with children tend to be more productive than those without. One wonders if this "productivity" isn't a means of dodging out on domestic chores. Billing an additional hour may not look so bad when the alternative is to go home and change a diaper ...

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