The number of lawyers in the U.S. keeps increasing


Pavel Prikhodko, Ph.D. Machine Learning

The number of lawyers in the United States hasn’t stopped increasing in the last 10 years. According to the American Bar Association, last year there were about 1.34 million lawyers totally in the country. Looking back 10 years, there were 180,000 fewer lawyers — 1.16 million in 2008. The profession became more and more popular; in 2009, the number of lawyers amounted to 1.18 million, while in 2010 and 2011 the number increased to 1.2 million and 1.23 million respectively. The numbers continued to increase throughout this period: 1.25 million lawyers in 2012, 1.27 million in 2013, 1.28 million in 2014, 1.3 million in 2015, 1.32 million in 2016 and 1.34 million in 2017. The chart below provides a visual representation of the upward trend in the number of lawyers in the U.S.


Next, let’s talk about the total market size of legal services in the U.S., as of 2017. As you can see, two years ago the size of the total market of legal services amounted to $100.9 billion. This number encompasses two categories: corporate legal departments, which amounted to $39.4 billion, and spending on outside counsel, which amounted to $61.5 billion in 2017.


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About Pavel Prikhodko


Pavel Prikhodko, Ph.D. Machine Learning

Pavel has worked for many years as a researcher and developer on a wide range of applications (varying from mechanics and manufacturing to social data, finance and advertising), building predictive systems and trying to find stories that data can tell.

In his free time, he enjoys being with his family.

Other posts by Pavel Prikhodko:

6 thoughts on “The number of lawyers in the U.S. keeps increasing”

  1. Hello Pavel,

    I just came across this, and was wondering if you correlated this with any criminal/divorce/civil court case data for the same time-frame. An axis for population would be interesting to see as well. The article was informative, yet felt a bit ’empty’ with no conclusive or data supporting why this trend of increasing lawyers may be occurring.

    Kind regards,

  2. Aren’t most of the “newer” lawyers ambulance chasers? Locally where am from, there seems to be a personal injury lawyer on every corner. Have to wonder is there enough to go around??

  3. If you are not tying your numbers to some relevant metric like the population of USA or the need for legal services in the USA and comparing that in the past and in 2017, I don’t see the point of what you have posted other than to waste peoples’ time.

  4. A lot of lawyers are rent-seekers-they get money without really doing anything for it. Parasites occur in every niche-insects, birds, and mammals.

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