How Many Lawyers Are There in the United States?


1.3 million lawyers. That’s how many are practicing in the United States, according to a recent survey from the American Bar Association.

However, large chunks of the country have “legal deserts,” meaning that residents don’t have access to attorneys. Here are the states with the highest concentration of lawyers: New York, California, and Florida.

1. California

Many people are interested in finding out how many lawyers there are in the United States, especially in comparison with other countries. According to data from the American Bar Association, there are currently around 1.35 million employed lawyers in the United States.

This includes those who work at law firms, public defenders, and government agencies. It also consists of those who work in the courts, such as judges. However, it does not have those who are self-employed or do not work full-time.

The largest concentration of lawyers is in California and New York. This is likely because these two cities are business hubs and thus have a high demand for legal services. There are roughly 167,709 lawyers in California and 185,075 in New York.

Other states with numerous lawyers include Florida, Illinois, and Texas. These states have all seen growth in their numbers of lawyers over the past decade. However, some states still have very few attorneys, including South Dakota and Montana. The number of attorneys in a state can vary depending on the economic activity in that area. Therefore, some states may have fewer than others in the future.

An excellent way to understand the number of lawyers in a state is to examine the number per capita. This statistic is calculated by dividing the number of lawyers by the population. The most current figures can be found on the American Bar Association page. However, it is essential to note that these statistics only reflect those actively practicing and maintaining their licenses. Far more lawyers are idle, either because they work in fields that do not require a law degree or because they choose not to practice.

2. New York

In New York, there are 184,662 lawyers. This means there is one lawyer for every 10,790 people. This is the second-highest number of lawyers per capita in the United States, behind California.

The law profession has been heavily male-dominated, but the numbers have shifted. Women make up about 39% of attorneys, increasing in popularity and power. However, minorities are still underrepresented in the industry, with only about 3% of lawyers being black, Hispanic, or Asian.

As a general rule, most lawyers work in private practice. About 75% of the nation’s lawyers are self-employed, and about 12% work for small or large firms. The rest, about 4%, work for the government or as public defenders.

It’s difficult to pinpoint the exact number of lawyers working in a particular area. Many readers find this page when searching for “lawyer population by state,” the information here is based on research I did in 2010. Some of these searches also end up on the Lawyer Overproduction page, which compares the number of licensed attorneys with the number employed as determined by state governments.

It’s essential to remember that the legal profession is highly competitive, and most lawyers sometimes struggle to get clients and cases for their firm. Competition is incredibly stiff in personal injury, where thousands of lawyers are fighting for a share of the pie. In addition, the number of lawyers has been increasing as school counselors continue to promote the career as a good option for students and universities add new law schools. This has contributed to an oversupply of lawyers who cannot find jobs.

3. Florida

One of the highest concentrations of lawyers in the United States can be found in Florida. Approximately 80,000 of the state’s residents are attorneys. That’s more than double the number of attorneys in New York. This is likely because Florida has a large number of law schools. People often become lawyers because they think the job will pay well. However, recent drops in legal fees have caused many to rethink this career choice. Additionally, the cost of attending law school can be pretty high.

The demand for legal services varies by region, so it makes sense that sparsely populated areas have lower lawyer densities. In addition, many states with lawyers are also ranked highly in economic activity.

New York, for example, is a financial hub that attracts many business clients. This, in turn, drives the demand for legal services. Despite the current glut of lawyers, many firms are still hiring. Some have even started offering a sign-on bonus to recruit recent graduates. However, new hires are insufficient to offset the existing number of attorneys.

The number of attorneys in a state depends on the number of businesses that need legal services. Generally speaking, larger states have higher densities of lawyers than smaller states. This is because larger companies tend to have more legal issues. However, some of the smaller states have many attorneys, too. This is especially true in California and Florida. The number of lawyers in the United States is increasing. This is partly because law schools are adding seats, and many students are getting advice from their school counselors that the law field will be lucrative.

4. Illinois

One of the most challenging tasks in the legal industry is nailing down exactly how many lawyers there are in any given state. Despite all the information available, it’s hard to get an exact tally. This is mainly because lawyers aren’t required to report their employment numbers. It also doesn’t help that the available data has a lot of ambiguity.

The Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission in Illinois, which regulates the profession, recently released data depicting the state’s lawyer population. As of early this month, there were over 91,000 registered Illinois attorneys.

More than half of these attorneys are in private practice, and more than a third work at firms that employ over 100 people. Lawyers at firms with less than ten attorneys make up the second largest group.

Several attorneys work as public defenders and in government roles, but these represent only about 8% of the total number of lawyers in the state. There is also a strong contingent of lawyers focusing on criminal defense work, primarily in metropolitan areas.

Lawsuits are a fact of life in the United States, and the legal system needs to have enough practitioners to keep up with the demand. However, it’s also essential for lawyers to be honest with their clients and only take on cases they are confident about winning. This way, they can provide their best possible service and keep the number of frivolous lawsuits in check. This is particularly important for personal injury lawyers, who must compete with hundreds of other attorneys for every client they can attract.

5. Texas

When it comes to the number of lawyers per capita, the state of Texas ranks fifth. This may be due to its large population, but it also has several prestigious law schools and is the third-most popular destination for students graduating from law school. The Lone Star State is home to many high-profile firms and has a robust business culture, making it an excellent place for attorneys looking to build a career.

In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to more attorneys relocating to Texas from New York and California. Those specializing in M&A activity have been particularly interested in moving to a state with a more flexible work environment and lower real estate costs than other major cities. Some of the top firms in the country are opening offices in Texas, including Kirkland & Ellis and O’Melveny & Myers.

The influx of new lawyers has also fueled the competition for cases and clients. This has pushed up legal fees and reduced the money new lawyers can make during their first few years. It’s also made it more difficult for young attorneys to find employment and start their law firms, which can lead to burnout and even depression.

As a result, the overall quality of law firm practices has suffered. The ABA has warned that the profession is experiencing “serious problems” such as declining morale, high levels of stress and fatigue, and an inability to maintain a healthy work-life balance. As the demand for legal services increases, these trends will likely continue. Law firms must address these issues and focus on their employees’ well-being to improve the quality of legal practice.