Research on intraoccupational status attainment within the legal profession is extensive, but it has not generated consistent findings on the effects of social backgrounds and academic performance in college and law school on types of legal employment. This research has been either carried out on lawyers employed in geographically circumscribed communities or has been limited to particular types of lawyers. This study investigates the effects of social backgrounds and academic achievement on types of legal practice for a national sample of lawyers a quarter of a century after their graduation from college. We find that occupational inheritance and religion predict academic achievement in college and law school, and that these variables in combination influence the allocation of lawyers to solo and firm practice. An important contextual feature structuring legal careers is the population size of the communities in which these lawyers practice.
- community size
- professional status