B’nai B’rith Survey Reveals Pattern of Discrimination Against Young Jewish Lawyers

Discrimination against young Jewish law graduates has been verified by a survey just completed by B’nai B’rith’s Vocational Service Bureau. The survey, which was conducted among 2,325 graduates of law schools of 1946 and 1947, revealed the following results:

1. Jewish law graduates of those two classes earn less today than their non-Jewish classmates.

2. Proportionately twice as many Jews as non-Jews start their legal careers in the lowest category, that of law clerk.

3. On a percentage basis, three times as many non-Jews as Jews get started in their legal careers as attorneys in private industry.

4. The common belief that a higher percentage of Jews than others get into government legal work is not true.

5. Proportionately more Jews than non-Jews fail to go into legal work following graduation from law school.

6. Jewish law graduates who go into other fields of work are more likely than non-Jews to say that their legal training was of no significant help in landing their non-law jobs.

7. The overwhelming majority of recent law graduates tie up with law firms in which all or some of the partners are Jewish.

Fifty-five out of 103 accredited law schools cooperated with the Bureau in this survey. Additional facts established by the survey brought out the following picture; Getting a law job was easiest for the graduate who was not a Jew and who sought placement in a city under 250,000 population; it was hardest for the Jewish woman law graduate looking for work in cities of more than 1,000,000; in 1948, only four percent of the Jewish lawyers surveyed held salaried jobs in private industry, whereas ten percent of the non-Jewish graduates held such jobs; ten percent of both the Jews and the non-Jews queried were government attorneys in 1948.

With few exceptions, the recent Jewish law graduate earns about $300 a year less than his non-Jewish classmate of comparable scholastic standing. Half of the non-Jewish lawyers in the group surveyed earned under $3,170 in 1948, whereas half of the Jewish lawyers in the group received under $2,950. Both groups received larger incomes when they worked in cities between 250,000 population and 1,000,000 than in smaller or larger cities. Both groups had their hardest struggle for a livelihood in New York City.

Of those surveyed, 63 percent of all Jewish lawyers in law firms were connected with firms in which all of the partners were Jewish, and another 21 percent in firms in which some of the partners were Jews.

NEXT STORY