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Ronit Dinovitzer

Ronit Dinovitzer

Ronit Dinovitzer is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto, where she is cross appointed to the Institute for Management and Innovation (IMI). She is also a Faculty Fellow at the American Bar Foundation in Chicago, where she is Co-Director of the Research Group on Legal Diversity.

Full bio


Ronit Dinovitzer is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto, where she is cross appointed to the Institute for Management and Innovation (IMI). She is also a Faculty Fellow at the American Bar Foundation in Chicago, where she is Co-Director of the Research Group on Legal Diversity, and she is an Affiliated Faculty in Harvard's Program on the Legal Profession. She has served as a Visiting Professor of Law at Georgetown University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Ronit recently delivered the Annual Lecture on the Legal Profession at Georgetown Law, focusing on issues of diversity and inequality in the legal profession. She holds a PhD in Sociology from the University of Toronto.

Ronit is a sociologist of the professions. Through her research on the legal profession, Ronit draws together analyses of the professions with research in social policy, including the social organization of lawyers, the role of labor markets, and the effects of culture on professional work. She has pursued this work through her involvement with the After the JD project, the first national longitudinal study of law graduates in the US, and the Law and Beyond Study, the first national study of law graduates in Canada. Ronit's work also attends to the role of ethics within professional practice. In current research, she is studying the role of ethical decision-making and professional autonomy, through a qualitative project on the ways in which corporate lawyers interact with their clients.


Dinovitzer, Ronit, Hugh Gunz and Sally Gunz. Forthcoming 2014. “Unpacking Client Capture: Evidence from corporate law firms,” Journal of Professions and Organization.

Dinovitzer, Ronit, Sally Gunz and Hugh Gunz. 2014. “Reconsidering Lawyer Autonomy: The Nexus Between Firm, Lawyer and Client in Large Commercial Practice.” American Business Law Journal 51(3):66

Dinovitzer, Ronit and John Hagan. 2014. “Hierarchical Structure and Gender Dissimilarity in American Legal Labor Markets.” Social Forces 92(3):929-955. «link»

Dinovitzer, Ronit, Bryant G. Garth, and Joyce Sterling. 2013. “Buyers' Remorse? An Empirical Assessment of the Desirability of a Legal Career.”  Journal of Legal Education 63:211-234. «link»

Taylor, Judith, Ron Levi and Ronit Dinovitzer. 2012. "Homeland Tourism, Emotion, and Identity Labor." Du Bois Review 9:67-85.

Dinovitzer, Ronit. 2011. "The Financial Rewards of Elite Status in the Legal Profession." Law & Social Inquiry 36: 971–998.«link»

Dinovitzer, Ronit. 2011. “Women in the Legal Profession: Findings from a Longitudinal Study of US Law Graduates.” For the Defence 32(4):50-57.

Dinovitzer, Ronit, Nancy Reichman and Joyce Sterling. 2009. "The Differential Valuation of Women's Work: A New Look at the Gender Gap in Lawyers' Incomes." Social Forces 88:819-854. «link»

Dinovitzer, Ronit, John Hagan and Ron Levi. 2009. "Immigration and Youthful Illegalities in a Global Edge City." Social Forces 88:337-372. «link»

Dinovitzer, Ronit and Bryant G. Garth. 2009. "Pro Bono as an Elite Strategy in Early Lawyer Careers" in Private Lawyers and the Public Interest: The Evolving Role of Pro Bono in the Legal Profession, edited by Robert Granfield and Lynn Mather, Oxford University Press.

Dinovitzer, Ronit and Bryant G. Garth. 2009. "Not That Into You" American Lawyer. September 1, 2009. «link»

Dawson, Myrna and Ronit Dinovitzer. 2008. "The Evolution of Specialized Domestic Violence Courts in Ontario," in What's Law Got to Do With It? The Law, Specialized Courts and Domestic Violence in Canada, edited by J. Ursel, L. Tutty and J. leMaistre. Toronto: Cormorant Press.

Hagan, John, Ron Levi and Ronit Dinovitzer. 2008. "The Symbolic Violence of the Crime-Immigration Nexus: Migrant Mythologies in the Americas." Criminology & Public Policy 7:95-112. «link»

Wilkins, David, Ronit Dinovitzer & Rishi Batra. 2007. "Urban Law School Graduates in Large Law Firms." Southwestern University Law Review 36:433-507.

Sterling, Joyce, Ronit Dinovitzer and Bryant G. Garth. 2007. "The Changing Social Role of Urban Law Schools." Southwestern University Law Review. 36:389-432.

Dinovitzer, Ronit and Myrna Dawson. 2007. "Family-Based Justice in the Sentencing of Domestic Violence." British Journal of Criminology 47:655-670. «link»

Dinovitzer, Ronit and Bryant G. Garth. 2007. "Lawyer Satisfaction in the Process of Structuring Legal Careers." Law & Society Review 41:1-50.«link»

Dinovitzer, Ronit and John Hagan. 2006. "Lawyers on the Move: The Consequences of Mobility for Legal Careers." International Journal of the Legal Profession 13:119-135. «link»

Dinovitzer, Ronit. 2006. "Social Capital and Constraints on Legal Careers." Law & Society Review 40:445-480. «link»

Nelson, Robert, Ronit Dinovitzer, Bryant G. Garth, Joyce Sterling, Gita Wilder and Terry Adams. 2006. "Observations from the After the Bar Survey of the Bar Class of 2000." Quinnipiac Law Review 24:539-554.

Dinovitzer, Ronit, John Hagan, and Patricia Parker. 2003. "Choice and Circumstance: Social Capital and Planful Competence in the Attainments of Immigrant Youth." Canadian Journal of Sociology 28:463-488.

Dawson, Myrna and Ronit Dinovitzer. 2001. "Victim Cooperation and the Prosecution of Domestic Violence in a Specialized Court." Justice Quarterly 18:593-622. [Awarded the Graduate Student Paper Award by the American Sociological Association, Sociology of Law Section, 2000 and the Gene Carte Award, First Prize, American Society of Criminology, 2000].

Dinovitzer, Ronit and Jeffrey S. Leon. 2001. "When Long Becomes too Long: Legal Culture and Litigators' Views on Long Civil Trials." Windsor Yearbook of Access to Justice 19:106-160.

Hagan, John and Ronit Dinovitzer. 1999. "Collateral Consequences of Imprisonment for Children, Communities and Prisoners." Crime and Justice: A Review of Research 26:121-162, Prisons, edited by M. Tonry and J. Petersilia. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Dinovitzer, Ronit. 1997. "The Myth of Rapists and Other Normal Men: The Impact of Psychiatric Considerations on the Sentencing of Sexual Assault Offenders." Canadian Journal of Law and Society 12:147-169.

Reports and Working Papers

Dinovitzer, Ronit, Robert Nelson, Gabriele Plickert, Rebecca Sandefur, and Joyce Sterling. 2010. “After the JD II: Second Results from a National Study of Legal Careers.” American Bar Foundation and NALP. «link»

Dinovitzer, Ronit, Bryant Garth, Richard Sander, Joyce Sterling, and Gita Wilder. 2004. After the JD: The First Results of a National Study of Legal Careers. The NALP Foundation for Law Career Research and Education and the American Bar Foundation. «link»

Hagan, John and Ronit Dinovitzer. 1999. "Social Capital and the Migration of Law Students and Lawyers Between Geographic and Practice Areas." Final Report submitted to the Law School Admission Council.

Dinovitzer, Ronit. 1998. Attitudes Towards Long Civil Trials: A Survey of the Members of The Advocates' Society. Toronto: The Advocates' Society.

Work in Progress

Dinovitzer, Ronit, Sally Gunz and Hugh Gunz. “Corporate Lawyers and their Clients: Walking the Line between Law and Business.” Under Review.

Dinovitzer, Ronit, Sally Gunz and Hugh Gunz. “Chapter 26: Ethics”, in the Oxford Handbook of Professional Service Firms, edited by Laura Empson, Daniel Muzio, Joe Broschak, and Bob Hinings, Oxford University Press.

Dinovitzer, Ronit and Bryant G. Garth. “Lawyers and the Legal Profession,” in the Wiley Handbook of Law and Society, edited by Autin Sarat and Patricia Ewick,  John Wiley & Sons.

Dawe, Meghan and Ronit Dinovitzer. "Immigrant Offspring in the Legal Profession: Exploring the Effects of Immigrant Status on Earnings among American lawyers," paper in progress.

After the JD

The After the JD (AJD) project is an empirical study of a nationally representative cohort of almost 5,000 new lawyers. The AJD study design is longitudinal, following the careers of new lawyers over the first ten years following law school graduation; the first cohort of lawyers was surveyed in 2002-03, the second in 2007-08, and the third contact commenced in 2012.

While a main emphasis of the study is to broadly chart the career outcomes of these lawyers, a further emphasis of this study is to analyze the structure of the legal profession by investigating the sorting process through which lawyers come to occupy various positions within the profession. By analyzing the various forms of capital—human, social and symbolic—accumulated by lawyers over their life course, After the JD will bring to light the forms of capital that are valued and rewarded within the legal profession, the social and professional contexts that lead to differential valuations, and how these processes of opportunity and reward may be changing over time.

After the JD (Wave 3) is funded by: American Bar Foundation, NALP Foundation for Law Career Research and Education, NALP, and National Science Foundation. For further details, refer to the project's website.

Ethics, the Professional Service Firm and Corporate Governance

With Hugh Gunz and Sally Gunz. Funded by the Law Foundation of Ontario and the Alberta Law Foundation.

This project examines one of the more troubling aspects of the corporate failures of the turn of the century: how highly trained professionals, governed by and committed to strong codes of ethics, allowed themselves to become active participants in and sometimes facilitators of questionable business practices. Following the collapse of Enron and Arthur Andersen, the primary public and academic focus was upon the role of the auditors. In this project we turn to the role of lawyers and ethical practices, with a particular focus on lawyers working in large commercial law firms.

The data for this study come from interviews with 106 lawyers from corporate law firms in Canada. The majority of the respondents in the present study work in law firms that are among the largest in the country, with offices in multiple cities as well as internationally. The sample was selected in proportion to licensed lawyers in the four cities selected for the study: 66 in Toronto, 20 in Montreal, 10 in Calgary and 10 in Vancouver.

{LAB} Study

The {LAB} study is the first national study of Canadian law graduates, and provides an in depth look at early careers through a study of Canadian lawyers admitted to the bar in 2010. This project is funded by funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).

The main objective of this research is to explore inequality within the Canadian legal profession today, and it seeks to answer three interrelated questions: 1) What is the internal stratification in the Canadian legal profession in terms of salary differentials and professional status afforded to different sectors, settings and fields of law; 2) Which lawyers allocate their time to serve individuals or the public good and which serve private business interests; and 3) Relying on the multidimensional concept of capital, what are the mechanisms that underlie this stratification.

In short, while this project will provide a valuable snapshot of the Canadian legal landscape, it also seeks to document the mechanisms by which the profession has produced and reproduced patterns of inequality by identifying the various forms of capital – social, cultural and economic – that come together in the construction of lawyer careers.


Ronit Dinovitzer
Department of Sociology
University of Toronto
725 Spadina Avenue
Toronto, Ontario Canada

email: ronit dot dinovitzer at utoronto dot ca