In Roman times Emperor Claudius was the first person to allow lawyers to practice openly and in exchange for funds.
This could be said to be the first example of law at work.
While lawyers were low-paid, it gave rise to a class of people who spent all their time thinking about legal issues.
This is why the Romans had such a precise and technical set of laws.
Lawyers largely disappeared during the Middle Ages. However, during the 12th century, people started to become experts in law.
By the beginning of the 13th century, the first people were practicing law as a lifelong career.
In the US, the 1700s saw a rise in the prominence of lawyers.
They were often leaders of both local towns and colonies. This was effectively the start of the legal system as it is known today.
Of course, the system has grown dramatically since and covers a wide array of issues.
There are also considerably more lawyers today than there used to be, leading to the question “How many lawyers are there In the US in 2024?”
- 1 How Many Lawyers Are There In The US in 2024? The Short Answer.
- 2 Key Statistics
- 2.1 1. One In Four Lawyers Are In New York Or California
- 2.2 2. 50% Of Law Graduates Work For Law Firms
- 2.3 3. 48.5% Of Lawyers Are Men
- 2.4 4. The Average Lawyer Earns $126,930
- 2.5 5. Average Hourly Rate Charged By Lawyers Is $300
- 2.6 6. On Average, Lawyers Bill 2.5 Hours Of Time A Day
- 2.7 7. Personal Injury Law Is The Most Competitive Field
- 2.8 8. 45% Of Lawyers Think Technology Is Beneficial
- 2.9 9. 79% Of Clients Want The Option To Work Remotely With Their Lawyer
- 2.10 10. 59% Of Lawyers Use Online Software
- 3 Summing Up
- 4 Sources
How Many Lawyers Are There In The US in 2024? The Short Answer.
The short answer to how many lawyers are there in the US is over 1.3 million.
That’s according to a survey completed by the American Bar Association.
That sounds like a lot of lawyers, until you consider there are over 336 million people in the country.
As a percentage, lawyers are just 0.39% of the population.
- One in four lawyers are in New York or California
- 50% of law graduates work for law firms
- 48.5% of lawyers are men
- The average lawyer earns $126,930
- Average hourly rate charged by lawyers is $300
- On average, lawyers bill 2.5 hours of time a day
- Personal injury law is the most competitive field
- 45% of lawyers think technology is beneficial
- 79% of clients want the option to work remotely with their lawyer
- 59% of lawyers use online software
1. One In Four Lawyers Are In New York Or California
There are over 1.3 million lawyers currently practicing in the US.
According to the latest ABA report, there are more in California and New York than in any other state.
The likely reason that there are so many in these states is the level of cases and associated fees that can be charged.
California is home to Hollywood where litigation is essential to everyone in the industry New York is a capital of global business and therefore full of potential legal cases.
The survey showed 167,709 lawyers in California and 185,075 in New York.
Florida takes the third place spot with 77,223. That’s significantly less.
The rewards are generally higher but competition is fierce.
You need to have a law film that stands out for all the right reasons.
2. 50% Of Law Graduates Work For Law Firms
In 2022 roughly 35,000 graduates passed law school and started looking for a job. Approximately 50% of these graduates will find jobs with law firms.
This allows them to work, earn money, and gain valuable experience.
Estimates suggest that there are 48,700 vacancies each year for lawyers. That means there aren’t enough graduates.
The availability of lawyers will be more difficult in the future, pushing their prices up.
At the same time they are protected by the firm, allowing them to make minor mistakes.
Obviously, the best graduates will be able to build successful careers and even become partners in the law firm in the future.
In contrast, just 12% of graduates take jobs with the government and a humbling 1% go on to start their own practice.
That can be very challenging and rewarding.
3. 48.5% Of Lawyers Are Men
In the past the law profession was predominantly men. In fact, it wasn’t until 1870 that the first woman passed the bar.
However, since the late 20th century women have become an increasingly powerful force.
They now outnumber men in the industry and this trend looks set to continue.
It should be noted that 0.2% of people asked in the ABA survey responded with ‘neither” when asked if they were male or female.
Interestingly, while the majority of lawyers are women, they are still underrepresented in several areas.
For example, the percentage of women doing criminal law is 38%. That figure is a decline from last year.
Even corporate work remains a man’s domain, it’s split 54% to 46%. In short, there is still room for better equality, if female lawyers wish it.
4. The Average Lawyer Earns $126,930
If you ever wondered why someone would want to be a lawyer, then consider the average annual wage.
A survey done in 2020 showed that the median annual wage for a lawyer is an impressive $126,930.
Naturally, there are plenty of lawyers that earn less and just as many that earn significantly more.
Knowing what the average wage is means all lawyers can assess their current earnings and skill level.
It can help you to decide if you need to speak to someone about a pay rise.
It should be noted that women lawyers earn 93 cents for every dollar earned by male lawyers.
This figure was as of 2020, it has grown a little in 2021 and is likely to be 10% higher by 2030.
(US Bureau Of Labor Statistics)
5. Average Hourly Rate Charged By Lawyers Is $300
Everyone knows that lawyers are expensive. The better their track record the greater the charge per hour.
The most expensive lawyers are in Washington with New York following a close second.
Washington Lawyers charge $411 on average. New York lawyers will, on average, charge $372 per hour.
That’s why you need to get straight to the point when talking to them. It’s one of those moments when time really is money.
In contrast, lawyers in West Virginia will, on average, charge just $163 per hour.
(Legal Trends Report 2021)
6. On Average, Lawyers Bill 2.5 Hours Of Time A Day
Lawyers work a standard eight-hour day. In theory, that means they could bill eight hours of time a day.
However, there are many interruptions, such as reviewing case files before taking on a client, prepping a case, and even dealing with unexpected issues.
This means that most lawyers only bill 2.5 hrs a day! The survey doesn’t indicate whether this is because lawyers are generally inefficient or don’t have enough clients to fill their days.
This question is likely to be answered in the next few years as an increasing number of automated technologies become adapted for the legal profession.
Making a profit as a lawyer is difficult if you only have 2.5 billable hours a day.
Alongside this, 12% of charges aren’t collected, reducing a lawyer’s income and potentially causing issues for the firm.
(Legal Trends Report 2021)
7. Personal Injury Law Is The Most Competitive Field
There are many different fields of law and each one is competitive.
However, personal injury law can be one of the most lucrative. It’s also full of potential issues.
A good case will help your client win a fair settlement.
But, a simple mistake, especially through a lack of knowledge, can seriously damage any personal injury claim.
The attractive paydays mean that personal injury law is a popular choice for law graduates.
Of course, that makes it attractive to lots of lawyers, increasing the competitiveness of this type of law.
To compete you’ll need to gain a good grasp on personal injury law, it will help you negotiate with insurance companies and get the right result.
8. 45% Of Lawyers Think Technology Is Beneficial
Technology is constantly improving and, in many cases, failing to include it in your business plans means you’ll fall behind the competition.
This is certainly true in the law profession. Technology is making it easier than ever to acquire essential evidence and present it to a judge.
In fact, 45% of lawyers feel that technology can be used to increase the fairness of any hearing and, therefore, create a more equitable justice system.
Naturally, not all technology is beneficial, it’s important to choose the right parts.
But, the principle that nearly half the profession wants to use it to improve equitability in the system is promising.
(Legal Trends report)
9. 79% Of Clients Want The Option To Work Remotely With Their Lawyer
The global pandemic saw a rise in people meeting virtually.
This happened across all professions and, in many cases, allowed businesses to survive the pandemic.
Although the pandemic is officially over, many people are still working from home and connecting with others digitally.
It’s become an acceptable and convenient solution.
As such, it’s not surprising that the latest Legal Trends report shows 79% of Clients consider remote connectivity to their lawyer as important and potentially a deal-breaker if not available.
Video conferencing is particularly important, it ranks below in-person and telephone, but is still considered an important part of any legal package.
It’s vital to the smooth and efficient resolution of issues.
(Legal Trends Report)
10. 59% Of Lawyers Use Online Software
Lawyers may often be seen stereotypically as dressed in suits, arguing in courtrooms, and saying important phrases like “the truth shall set you free”.
On television they often double as detectives.
However, in reality they spend a lot of time trawling through paperwork to collate the evidence and create the best possible case for their clients.
It’s a lot easier to do this with software.
However, software can be lost and corrupted. That’s why all systems need to be backed up and password protected.
Preferably this is done with a good password manager, such as Nordpass.
Law firms are increasingly placing their trust in the cloud.
This creates secure storage and, by using web-based software, they can access the relevant information from anywhere.
It’s easier to sort and prepare for any trial.
(Legal Trends Report)
How many lawyers are there in the US? Statistics show that there are over 1.3 million.
What’s really surprising is that this number isn’t enough.
The amount of new roles which need to be filled every year is exceeding the number of law graduates.
That means a shortage of staff is just around the corner, leading to increased costs and lengthy delays in getting cases resolved.
The fact that many lawyers are open to using technology will help to lessen the burden and save time dealing with cases.
However, the bottom line is simple, more law graduates are needed to help keep the legal system running efficiently.