Lawyer Statistics

Lawyer Statistics: The State of the Legal Profession in 2024

Published on: March 13, 2024
Last Updated: March 13, 2024

Lawyer Statistics: The State of the Legal Profession in 2024

Published on: March 13, 2024
Last Updated: March 13, 2024

Lawyers can help you get divorced, help you with bankruptcy, help you with worker’s comp, help you with criminal offences, and more.

However, somehow, they are one of the most despised people in the world, which could be related to how they help people with their legal woes. 

Whatever it is, lawyers tend to make more enemies than they do friends, which is likely due to the very people they represent.

Notwithstanding, these following lawyer statistics will enlighten you about this career. 

Aren’t lawyers people too?

They are human beings like the rest of us with strengths and weaknesses that sometimes drive their practice.

Like virtually every person in the world, some lawyers are greedy, some are benevolent, and some strive to do the right thing.

Regardless, if you’re considering going into this profession, you need to know the facts about getting there. 

Let’s talk about lawyers and how popular this career field is.

Resource Contents show

Key Statistics

  • The United States has more than 1.3 million lawyers. 
  • The state with the largest number of lawyers is New York, with 187,246 
  • North Dakota has the fewest lawyers in the U.S. with 1,685.
  • 38% of all lawyers in the United States identify as women.
  • 62% of all lawyers in the United States identify as men. 
  • 81% of U.S. lawyers are Caucasian/White.
  • 5% of lawyers in the United States are African American/Black. 
  • 2021 data shows that 3.7% of U.S. lawyers identify as LGBTQ.  
  • 1.22% of lawyers in the United States have disabilities.
  • The median age of U.S. lawyers is 46.5 years old. 

Top Lawyer Statistics and Demographics

Lawyer

1. The United States Has More than 1.3 Million Lawyers. 

According to the 2022 ABA National Lawyer Population Survey, there are over 1.3 million lawyers in the United States. In fact, this number hasn’t changed much over the past 10 years.

Each state’s bar association is asked to provide how many active and resident lawyers/attorneys in the state.

Therefore, this number relies on how the individual states respond. 

(ABA, 2022 ABA National Lawyer Population Survey)

2. The State with The Largest Number of Lawyers Is New York, with 187,246 

If the figures reported from the state are accurate and fully transparent, New York has the most lawyers in the United States with 187,246 resident and active attorneys.

In 2012 there were 163,798 attorneys in New York.

Therefore, a decade’s worth of growth in lawyers’ numbers of accounts for only 23,448 new lawyers. California is second with 170,306.

(2022 ABA National Lawyer Population Survey)

3. North Dakota Has the Fewest Lawyers in The U.S. with 1,685.

On the mainland of the United States, among the 52 states, North Dakota has a total of 1,685 lawyers in the state.

This is the lowest number of lawyers in the 52 states.

Some of the United States’ “territories” not included are the Virgin Islands (776 lawyers), Guam (262 lawyers), and a few others. 

(2022 ABA National Lawyer Population Survey)

4. 38% of All Lawyers in The United States Identify as Women.

The rate of growth among females entering the legal profession as lawyers or attorneys is half of 1% per year.

Currently, the data shows that 38% of lawyers in the United States are women.

This means that over one-third of the lawyer population in the U.S. is female.

In 2012, 33% of lawyers were female, they are up by 5 percentage points. 

Only 0.2% say they are neither female nor male.

(ABA)

5. 62% of All Lawyers in The United States Identify as Men. 

Those who identify as male in the United States that are lawyers account for 62% of the attorney population.

In 2012, this demographic was 67% of the lawyer population.

The growth in male lawyers is down by 5.2 percentage points compared to the increase of 5 percentage points in the female lawyer sector.

(ABA, 2022 ABA National Lawyer Population Survey)

6. 81% of U.S. Lawyers Are Caucasian/White.

In terms of ethnicity and race, a vast majority of lawyers in the United States are Caucasian/White.

This demographic accounts for 81% of all U.S. lawyers.

For reference, this lawyer demographic is down by 7.5 percentage points from 2012 when 88% of U.S. lawyers fell under this community.

(2022 ABA National Lawyer Population Survey)

7. 5% of Lawyers in The United States Are African American/Black.  

How Many Lawyers Are There in the US

Oddly enough, since 2012, only 5% of lawyers in the United States are African American/Black.

The Asian community accounts for another 5%, which is up by 3.4 percentage points over 2012 (2%).

Moreover, the Hispanic/Latino demographic accounts for 6% of U.S. lawyers.

Those who are Multiracial account for 3%, which wasn’t even measured in 2012.

Interestingly, Native Americans make up 0% (down from 1% in 2012), and Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders account for 0% (down from 1% in 2012). 

(2022 ABA National Lawyer Population Survey)

8. 2021 Data Shows that 3.7% of U.S. Lawyers Identify as LGBTQ.

A survey from 2021 revealed that 3,653 lawyers identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer (LGBTQ) among 849 law firms in the United States.

That represents 3.7% of the 99,606 lawyers at those law firms. 

(ABA Profile of the Legal Profession, 2022)

9. 1.22% of Lawyers in The United States Have Disabilities.

Only 1.22% of all lawyers in the United States say they have a disability, according to a 2021 National Association for Law Placement survey.

In the survey, it was discovered that 641 law firms in the nation had 865 lawyers who said they have a disability.

These law offices have a total of 70,980 lawyers.

You can do the math, if you like. In terms of being partners at law firms, only 1.07% say they have a disability. 

(ABA Profile of the Legal Profession, 2022)

10. The Median Age of U.S. Lawyers Is 46.5 Years Old. 

Generally, lawyers are more mature, or at least older than the average American worker.

The median age of lawyers in the United States is 46.5 years old, while the overall median for American workers is 42.2 years old.

A scant percentage of lawyers are younger than 25 and only 12.6% are older than 65. 

(ABA Profile of the Legal Profession, 2022)

11. The Highest Demand for Lawyers in The United States Is in Washington, DC.

In terms of metropolitan areas where lawyers are in demand, Washington, DC has the biggest need for lawyers.

Tallahassee, Florida is second, and Miami, Florida is third.

As you might expect, New York is also a big city where lawyers are in demand.

Lesser-known areas like Santa Fe, New Mexico and Trenton, New Jersey also have a big demand for lawyers.

(ABA Profile of the Legal Profession, 2022)

12. The Median Annual Salary for A Lawyer in The United States Is $127,990 per Hour. 

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics said that as of 2021, the median annual salary for a lawyer is $127,990.

In terms of an hourly wage, that’s about $61.54 an hour.

Like any other career, pay is based on their experience, wins-losses, their level at a law firm, and other factors. 

(BLS)

13. 30% of Lawyers Work in A Mostly Digital Remote Setting.

Lawyer

According to the 2022 Legal Trends Report, fewer than 30% of lawyers continue to work solely from their law office.

Today, there are four essential types of law firms: only-office, mostly-office, hybrid, and mostly digital. 93% are only-office, 73% are mostly-office, and 48% are hybrid. 

(The 2022 Legal Trends Report)

14. In 2021, 51% of U.S. Lawyers Worked in The Legal Services Sector.

Out of the 833,100 jobs lawyers had in 2021, 51% were spent in legal services.

Another 16% of lawyers worked in the self-employed sector.

The lowest percentage of lawyers worked in local government (7%), state government (6%), or federal government (5%) jobs.

Government jobs combined accounted for 18% of all lawyer jobs.

(BLS)

15. Jobs for Lawyers Is Expected to Increase 10% Faster than Other Careers in The Coming Years.

The statistics show that between 2021 and 2031 (a decade), lawyer employment will increase 10% faster than most career fields.

It’s worth noting that much of this increase is expected to come from lawyers retiring and leaving the legal workforce.

(BLS)

16. 62% of Male Lawyers Surveyed Said They Are Happy with Their Options for Advancement at Their Firms.

If you’re considering becoming a lawyer, you should know that 62% of men who are lawyers are satisfied with the advancement opportunities at their firms.

This is more than what the female lawyers said.

Female lawyers said they are 45% satisfied about advancement opportunities.

(The 2022 Legal Trends Report)

17. 73% of Male Lawyers Are Happy with Their Compensation.

Male lawyers are overall more satisfied with their pay/compensation than female lawyers.

Male lawyers account for 73% of those who are happy with their compensation, while 61% of female lawyers said the same. 

(The 2022 Legal Trends Report)

18. 50% of Women Working as Lawyers Have Experienced Sexual Harassment. 

If you’re a woman who wants to be a lawyer, you need to know that 50% of female lawyers have gotten unwanted sexual conduct in the workplace, compared to only 6% of men in this same setting.

Additionally, 16% of women lawyers lost work opportunities due to rejecting sexual advances compared to men at 1%.

(The 2022 Legal Trends Report)

19. 58% of Female Lawyers Surveyed Said the Main Reason to Leave Their Job Involves Caretaking Commitments. 

Women working as lawyers said they would walk out the door of their firm is they had pressing caretaking commitments (58%).

Second to that, 54% said they would quit their job due to the elevated level of stress at the firm.

Women in law firms are least likely to leave their job if they have interesting or challenging work.

These are things to think about for women considering becoming a lawyer and the law firms out there. 

(The 2022 Legal Trends Report)

20. 44% of Undergrads See Law School as A Pathway Into Politics.

Surprisingly, 44% of undergraduates decide to go to law school to pave their way into politics.

That’s the biggest reason, according to the 2022 Legal Trends Report.

However, 42% said that law school is their passion, or they have a desire for that career.

Moreover, 35% said they want to have opportunities to help others and be useful in society, while 32% said they want to go to law school to advocate for social change.

Finally, 31% said it’s for the money.

(The 2022 Legal Trends Report) 

FAQs

What’s the Most Important Thing for A Lawyer?

The most important thing for a lawyer is to have strong analytical and problem-solving skills.

Lawyers must be able to think critically and creatively to identify and solve legal problems.

They must also be able to communicate effectively with clients, judges, and other lawyers.

What Are the Distinct Types of Lawyers?

There are many diverse types of lawyers, each with their own area of specialization.

Some of the most common types of lawyers include:

• Civil litigators: These lawyers represent clients in court in civil cases, such as personal injury lawsuits, contract disputes, and divorce cases.

• Criminal defense lawyers: These lawyers represent clients who have been accused of crimes.

• Corporate lawyers: These lawyers work for businesses to help them with a variety of legal matters, such as contracts, mergers and acquisitions, and intellectual • property.

• Government lawyers: These lawyers work for the government at the federal, state, or local level. They may work in areas such as criminal law, civil rights, or environmental law.

• Nonprofit lawyers: These lawyers work for nonprofit organizations to help them achieve their mission. They may work in areas such as civil rights, environmental law, or immigration law.

What’s the Job Outlook for Lawyers?

The job outlook for lawyers is expected to grow by 7% from 2020 to 2030, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

This growth is expected to be driven by the increasing complexity of the legal system and the growing demand for legal services from businesses and individuals.

How Much Do Lawyers Earn?

The median annual salary for lawyers was $126,930 in May 2020.

However, salaries vary depending on the type of law practiced, the experience of the lawyer, and the location of the job.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Being a Lawyer?

3 Pros of Being a Lawyer Include:

• High salaries: Lawyers typically earn high salaries, especially as they gain experience.

• Job security: The demand for lawyers is expected to grow in the coming years, so there should be good job security for lawyers.

• Intellectual challenge: Lawyers often find their work to be intellectually challenging and rewarding.

3 Cons of Being a Lawyer Include:

• Long hours: Lawyers often work long hours, including evenings and weekends.

• Stressful work environment: The legal profession can be stressful, due to the long hours, the pressure to win cases, and the high stakes of legal work.

• Competition: The legal profession is very competitive, and it can be difficult to get a job as a lawyer.

How Do You Become a Lawyer?

The steps to becoming a lawyer typically include:

• Earn a bachelor’s degree: Most law schools require applicants to have a bachelor’s degree.

• Take the LSAT: The LSAT is a standardized test that is required for admission to law school.

• Apply to law school: Law school applications typically include an LSAT score, college transcripts, letters of recommendation, and a personal statement.

• Attend law school: Law school typically takes three years to complete.

• Pass the bar exam: The bar exam is a standardized test that is required to practice law in a particular state.

Conclusion

Hopefully, the takeaway from these lawyer statistics for 2024 is that anyone from anywhere can become a lawyer if they want to go through the process to do so. 

There are no limits or exclusions, though there are some racial, gender, and disability gaps, none of which should discourage you at all if you want to be an attorney.

The gaps may be due to the desire or passion for a legal career.

While it’s still true that men dominate the legal field in lawyers, their counterparts are growing in number faster. 

Sources

ABA2022 ABA National Lawyer Population SurveyABA Profile of the Legal Profession, 2022
BLSThe 2022 Legal Trends Report

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Written by Kelly Indah

I’m a statistics researcher here at EarthWeb with a special interest in privacy, tech, diversity, equality and human rights. I have a master’s degree in Computer Science and I have my Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification.