Membership Survey — Frequently Asked Questions

The WSBA Membership study has closed. View the results of the study.


Why should I participate in this study?  What will WSBA do with the information?
WSBA is working to better understand the complex challenges and opportunities facing our members. This is the first study of its kind that WSBA has undertaken. No matter what your individual circumstances may be, your participation is crucial for us to develop a complete and accurate picture of the challenges and opportunities facing attorneys today so that we can better serve you.

The study results will be used in a variety of ways, including potentially creating new member support programs, developing or modifying existing services to members, and educating employers, members, and the public as to trends in the legal profession. This survey will also serve as a baseline for future studies, targeted to segments of the membership and emerging issues identified by the survey results.


Is my participation confidential?                 
Your involvement in the survey and/or fora will be completely confidential. The study report will contain summarized information in which responses cannot be associated with any particular individual. Following your participation, your name and other identifying information will be deleted from study records. No identifying information associated with specific participant responses will be accessible to WSBA or to anyone outside of the professionals at Areté Resources. Summary data and non-identifying comments may be used for educational or informational purposes.


How can I be involved?
There are three potential ways that you can be involved in the study:

  1. Randomized-Participation Survey
    On January 5, an invitation to complete the membership survey will be sent to randomly selected members, either via email or regular mail. The survey will be available to these members from January 5–February 3. To ensure complete confidentiality, TrueBearing will handle all aspects of this survey. If you are selected, please complete the survey fully and candidly, knowing that your responses will not be tracked back to you as an individual in any way.

  2. Online Forum Participation
    A total of six confidential, moderated online fora will be conducted, each seeking the experiences of a different segment of the WSBA membership. The four themes and the corresponding dates are below. If no forum applies to you, or if the dates listed do not work for you, please see below regarding participating in the open-participation survey phase of the study.

    Forum 1 (January 11-17): Participants will be members of racial and ethnic minorities.
    Forum 2 (January 18-24): Participants will be members of sexual orientation minorities.
    Forum 3 (January 25-31): Participants will be women.
    Forum 4 (February 1-7): Participants will be primary parents and caregivers.
    Forum 5 (February 8-14): Persons living with disabilities and impairments.
  3. Open-Participation Survey
    The membership survey will be opened to all members from February 6-17. If you have not been selected to participate in the randomized survey or fora, this is your opportunity for your voice to be heard. You will receive an email with the survey link on February 6.


How long is the survey?
Areté has constructed the survey to cover a range of topics and themes identified by WSBA as central to members’ experiences and transitions during the trajectory of their careers. In order to cover the life situations of the entire WSBA membership, there are many questions in the survey. However, no respondent will have to answer every question, since “item branching” will guide every respondent only to those questions relevant to them.

For most respondents, the survey will take 12-15 minutes to complete. For others in more complex circumstances, it may take a few minutes longer.


Why did you only take a 10% sampling of the membership for the randomized-participation survey?  Is this statistically viable?
In a study of this type, a sample of ten percent is ample to ensure reliable and valid results. As a point of comparison, consider that very accurate national political surveys are frequently conducted on samples of considerably less than 1% of the population.

The key to the success of this study, however, is the overall response rate from our members. If you are randomly selected to participate, please understand that your completed survey is vital to the success of this effort. We are counting on you to spare a few minutes of your time to perform this service for your colleagues and yourself!


Why is there only one choice when answering some of the questions?
Although we ask for everyone to answer every question asked of them, wherever possible, we do allow for respondents not to answer. However, when a question leads to a “branch” (i.e., how you answer determines the next question), we do require an answer in order for that process to work properly.


When will we be able to see the results of the survey/study?
All phases of the study are scheduled for completion by the end of March 2012. Once data is compiled, a preliminary draft report will be sent to the WSBA task force overseeing this project, followed by a final report to the WSBA Board of Governors in late spring. The results will be made available in a variety of ways, including links from the WSBA website.


What are the fora?
The fora are online discussions, similar to focus groups. Six confidential, moderated online fora will be conducted, each discussing the experiences of a different segment of the WSBA membership. These fora will provide a deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities that face WSBA members today. The six forum themes are below.
 
Forum 1: Participants will be members of racial and ethnic minorities.
Forum 2: Participants will be members of sexual orientation minorities.
Forum 3: Participants will be women.
Forum 4: Participants will be primary parents and caregivers.
Forum 5: Persons living with disabilities and impairments.
Forum 6: Participants were randomly selected from the WSBA membership.
Forum 7: Participants were inactive and former WSBA members.


Why are the fora limited only to certain groups?
WSBA chose the initial forum themes to learn more about the experiences of members in certain segments of the membership. Due to budget and time constraints, there are a limited number of fora that represent constituencies selected by WSBA. However, each online forum will cover the same set of factors that relate to professional transitions (i.e., employment setting changes, changes in area of practice, exiting the profession altogether). The survey results may help WSBA to identify other segments of the membership to address in the future.


Does everyone have an opportunity to provide feedback?
Yes! During the final phase of the study, the membership survey will be opened to all current and former WSBA members. On February 6, you will receive an email with a link to the online survey. Results from the open-participation survey phase will be incorporated into the study results. This is your chance to have your voice heard by WSBA.