[****THIS IS AN OUTDATED POST ON LAWYERS PER CAPITA. THE PERMANENT VERSION OF THIS POST CAN BE FOUND ON THIS PAGE. PLEASE LINK TO THAT INSTEAD.****]
Many readers find their way to Law School Tuition Bubble by searching for the “number of attorneys per capita by state,” and discover research I did way back in the summer of 2010. Other searches bring people to the Avery Index, which used the 2000 Census with 2007 Martindale-Hubble attorney listings. We have better data available, but I credit the Avery Index for teaching me to calculate per capita rates in terms of a set number of residents (10,000) to make comparisons easier. In the past, one would have to shell out $45.00 to buy the Lawyer Statistical Report: The Legal Profession in 2000 from the ABA bookstore, which is no longer available except for a five-page excerpt on the ABA’s Market Research page. So, here’s the 2010 update, open source for all.
This page uses the number of attorneys “active and resident” according to the “ABA’s National Lawyer Population by State” document (NLPS) and population figures from the U.S. Census Bureau. This does not tell us the number of inactive or nonresident attorneys, which was around 7% in the early 2000s. To give you a comparison for the 1.2 million attorneys on the rolls, between 1970 and 2010, the ABA conferred just less than 1.5 million law degrees, and about 750,000 people were employed as lawyers in 2008. Those numbers will be updated later as they become available.
So, here’s what y’all came here for. As always, I consider D.C. and Puerto Rico states.
|#||STATE||2010 POPULATION||# LAWYERS (2010)||LAWYERS/10,000 RESIDENTS (2010)|
|1||District of Columbia||610,589||49,207||805.89|
And for your viewing pleasure here’s a chart of this by state, excluding D.C. because its number dwarfs the scale.
Here’s the same data by Census divisions, excluding Puerto Rico:
|CENSUS DIVISION||2010 POPULATION||# LAWYERS (2010)||LAWYERS/10,000 RESIDENTS (2010)|
|East North Central||46,521,570||159,063||34.19|
|West North Central||20,451,317||69,787||34.12|
|West South Central||36,377,554||112,237||30.85|
|East South Central||18,367,670||49,140||26.75|
And here’s a map of this, the Pacific division is close to the national average.
The most recent NLPS does have the number of lawyers active and resident in 2011 but (a) we don’t have population data for each state yet, and (b) Puerto Rico and Illinois shamefully chose not to respond, which will mess the data up. There’s probably a correlation between active and resident status and bar authorities requiring high fees and CLE requirements, which I’m interested in investigating. The fact that Massachusetts lost 5% of its lawyers over the course of 2010 strongly suggests that many attorneys changed their status due to an inability to afford bar fees and CLEs. The ABA Market Research Department should probably start counting inactive attorneys like it did in the 2000s. We may learn much.