Nonpracticing Female Lawyers: Why Did They Leave and Where Are They Now?


  • Ellen V. Schlesinger Counsellor & Consultant
  • Lee Butterfield Adler School of Professional Psychology


lawyers, career, female, nonpracticing


Since a greater proportion of female lawyers leave the law profession, the present study investigated women lawyers’ decisions to transition from the practice, their feelings at the time they decided to leave, and the characteristics of their current careers. Thematic Analysis of the interviews with nine female participants highlighted the nature of legal work and family responsibilities as the main reasons participants left the legal profession. Most participants reported experiencing anxiety, depression or burnout at the point they decided to change careers. Participants described their transition into new careers, the characteristics of their new work, and reflected on their decision to leave. Implications for career counsellors are considered.


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How to Cite

Schlesinger, E. V. ., & Butterfield, L. . (2015). Nonpracticing Female Lawyers: Why Did They Leave and Where Are They Now? . Canadian Journal of Career Development, 14(2), 47–62. Retrieved from




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