The research project, which is being carried out in conjunction with the Young Solicitors Group, will tackle issues such as flexible working, promotion and expectations.
Karen Aldred, AWS chair, said the study would also look at the “very nature of partnership”.
“Partnership is seen as the ultimate aim. But we'll be asking if it really serves any purpose anymore,” she said.
While Aldred said the AWS “has its suspicions” as to why young people are dropping out of the law so early, she said a fundamental review of the situation had never taken place.
“At the moment there is very little evidence as to why people are leaving and how many of them are coming back,” she explained. “We need to find ways to structure practice and the profession so we don't have this loss.”
The project, which will be commissioned early this year, is due to be completed by the summer and its findings will be unveiled at the World Women Lawyers Conference in London next year.