Number of Lawyers in the US

Number of Lawyers in the US in 2024

Number of Lawyers in the US in 2024

Lawyers play a vital role in the legal system.

These professionals offer their clients legal advice, guidance, and representation and help them understand their rights, obligations, and legal options. 

Statistics show that the growth of the legal profession in the United States in the 21st century has seen a little increase.

Lawyers in the country from 2012 to 2022 grew by around 80,000, equivalent to a 6.6% increase.

To give you some information about the current state of the legal industry in the US, let’s discuss the number of lawyers in the US in 2024 and other statistics about lawyers.

Key Statistics

  • Lawyers in the US amount to over 1.3 million today.
  • The number of lawyers in the country increased significantly in the 20th century. It increased by 793% from 1900 to 2000.
  • There were 1,327,010 lawyers in the US in 2022.
  • New York had the most lawyers in 2020, with over 187,000.
  • California had the highest level of employment in lawyers in 2021, accounting for more than 90,000.
  • The demand for lawyers in Washington, Tallahassee, Miami, New York, and Santa Fe is high.
  • White lawyers represented the most number of lawyers in the US in 2022, accounting for 81%.
  • The District of Columbia is the top-paying state for lawyers, with an annual mean wage of $226,510.

Number of Lawyers in the US in 2024

Lawyers 514

Based on the American Bar Association’s recent report, the number of lawyers in the US is more than 1.3 million today.

About a quarter of all lawyers in the country are in New York and California.

In  2022, around 1,327,010 active lawyers in the US were recorded, a slight decrease from 1,327,870 in the prior year.

One of the main reasons for the decrease was a change in how Alabama counted its active and inactive lawyers. 

In 2021, the state did not distinguish the status of its lawyers.

However, the following year, it started tracking only the active ones.

This resulted in a decrease of 2,843.

Growth of Lawyers in the US

Lawyers in the US increased significantly in the 20th century.

It went from roughly 114,000 in 1900 to over 1 million in 2000, equivalent to a 793% increase.

While lawyers in the 21st century increased from over 1 million in 2001 to over 1.32 million in 2022, equivalent to a 30% increase.

Let’s take a look at the growth of lawyers in the US from 1900 to 2022:

  • There were 114,460 lawyers in the US in 1900
  • There were 326,842 lawyers in the US in 1970
  • There were 574,810 lawyers in the US in 1980
  • There were 755,694 lawyers in the US in 1990
  • There were 1,022,462 lawyers in the US in 2000
  • There were 1,203,097 lawyers in the US in 2010
  • There were 1,327,010 lawyers in the US in 2022

Number of Lawyers in the US by Year

Lawyers 516

The number of lawyers in the US recorded a slow growth in the last few years.

The economic downturns, increased competition for limited job opportunities, changes in legal service delivery, technological advancement, and shifting demand for legal services contributed to slower growth.

Here are the number of lawyers in the US per year:

  • In 2007 – the US had more than 1.14 million lawyers
  • In 2011 – the US had more than 1.22 million lawyers
  • In 2015 – the US had more than 1.30 million lawyers
  • In 2019 – the US had more than 1.35 million lawyers
  • In 2022 – the US had more than 1.32 million lawyers

States with the Most Lawyers

According to the ABA Profile of the Legal Profession, around 25% of all lawyers in the US are in two states, namely: New York and California.

New York recorded the most number of lawyers, with over 187,000 in 2020, while California recorded over 170,000.

North Dakota had the least number of lawyers, with 1,685.

On average, there are four lawyers in every thousand residents, but some states like New York, Maryland, and Massachusetts have more.

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New York has 9.3 lawyers per thousand residents, Maryland has 6.6, and Massachusetts has 6.1.

List of States with the Most Number of Lawyers

Below are the five states with the most number of lawyers in 2020:

  • New York – recorded 187,246 lawyers
  • California – recorded 170,306 lawyers
  • Texas – recorded 95,196 lawyers
  • Florida – recorded 77,223 lawyers
  • Illinois – recorded 62,720 lawyers

What State in the US has the Highest Level of Employment in Lawyers?

California was the state with the highest level of employment in lawyers in the country in 2021, accounting for 90,120.

New York comes next, with 81,890, and Florida, with 54,740.

In the same year, 43,850 lawyers were employed in Texas and 30,850 in the District of Columbia.

Highest Demand for Lawyers in Metro Areas

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals that demand for lawyers in Washington, Tallahassee, Miami, New York, and Santa Fe is relatively high.

These five metropolitan areas had the highest demand for lawyers in 2021.

The location quotient for lawyers in Washington, DC, was 3.12 in 2021.

It is followed by Tallahassee, FL, with 2.51, and Miami, FL, with 2.09. While the demand for lawyers in New York, NY, was 2.03, and in Santa Fe, NM, was 1.95.

Lawyers in the US by Race and Ethnicity

In 2022, demographics showed that White lawyers represented the most number of lawyers in the US, accounting for 81%.

Hispanic and Asian American lawyers follow, accounting for 5.8% and 5.5%, respectively.

Black lawyers were 4.5%, and lawyers with mixed or other races were 2.7%.

Native American and Hawaiian Pacific Islander lawyers represented the smallest racial and ethnic group, at 0.5% and 0.2%.

How Much Do Lawyers in the US Earn?

Is being a lawyer financially rewarding?

Income levels of lawyers vary significantly based on practice area, individual performance, experience and expertise, type of law firm, and geographic location.

The industry with the highest annual mean wage as of May 2022 is Legal Services, with $166,640.

It is followed by the Local Government, with $124,010.

The top-paying state for lawyers in the US is the District of Columbia. This state has the highest annual mean wage for lawyers, with $226,510.

California comes next, with a $201,530 annual mean wage, and Massachusetts, with $196,230.

Becoming a Lawyer

Lawyers 515

Before becoming a lawyer, one must complete a rigorous educational and licensing process.

Candidates should complete a four-year undergraduate degree and three years of law school. 

Moroever, most states in the United States require a Juris Doctor degree from an accredited law school.

After meeting these requirements, aspiring lawyers need to pass the bar exam in the state where they wish to practice law to obtain a license.

Conclusion

Lawyers in the US are legal professionals who play a crucial role in the legal system and society. 

At present, there are over 1.3 million lawyers in the US.

On average, there are four lawyers for every thousand residents, but some states, like New York, have more.

Sources

Aba Legal ProfileStatistaClio
StatistaBLSBLS

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Written by Colin Tan
Colin Tan is a tech entrepreneur and business leader with extensive experience in the technology industry. He is the Co-Founder of several successful tech startups that provide innovative solutions to businesses. Colin has a passion for creating disruptive technologies that can transform industries and drive growth.