Professional work and the timing of family formation among young lawyers in US and German cities

Gabriele Plickert*, John Hagan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


There is little cross-national empirical research on which to develop our understanding of the relationship between family formation among lawyers and the organization of work in the legal profession. This study compares young German lawyers practicing in Frankfurt and Berlin with young US lawyers practicing in New York and Washington, DC at similar career stages when they are most likely to marry and have children. The sampled lawyers are about 10 years into practice. We examine the effects of work on women lawyers' childbearing in German and American cities. We find that although the onset and timing of childbearing is much the same in Frankfurt and Berlin, and also in New York and Washington, DC, there are major differences in the onset and timing of fertility between these German and American cities. A discrete-time event history analysis suggests that the more traditional legal culture of Germany offers women greater autonomy for parenting but also reduced economic rewards, while the mega-law culture of America offers women less autonomy for parenting but enhanced prospects for economic rewards. The findings underscore that there is much to be learned from the cross-national study of legal professionals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)237-261
Number of pages25
JournalInternational Journal of the Legal Profession
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Law


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