Crimes and injustice have been a part of our society for as long as we can remember. Our society has created legal and judicial systems to keep things in order and address these problems whenever they arise.
These systems need advocates and advisors. The necessity led to the appearance of one of the most grueling professions in the world — a lawyer or an attorney.
If you want to learn interesting lawyer statistics and expand your knowledge of the profession, keep reading the text below.
Interesting Lawyer Facts and Statistics — Editor’s Picks
- The percentage of female lawyers has increased to 37%.
- Women of color represent only 2% of equity partners at large law firms.
- Although African Americans comprise 13% of the total US population, only 5% of lawyers are African Americans.
- The first African American lawyer to argue before the US Supreme Court, Samuel Lowry, was a former slave.
- 50% of women lawyers experienced sexual harassment, as opposed to 6% of men.
- 3.35% of all attorneys at very large firms are LGBT.
- The national average annual wage of a lawyer is $144,230.
- Lawyers are 3.6 times more likely to suffer from depression than non-lawyers.
Women Attorney Statistics
With feminism on the rise, gender equality in the legal profession is also gaining momentum. Let’s look at some data regarding women in law.
1. 37% of lawyers are women.
Although slow, the female lawyers’ percentage growth has been noticed in the past decade. At the moment, males dominate the profession.
However, current statistics on lawyer education show that more women and fewer men are enrolling in law school. This information tells us about the possible steady growth of women lawyers in the years to come.
2. Margaret Brent is considered the first female lawyer in the US.
She was an English immigrant who came to Maryland in 1638. Besides that, she was a prominent female figure in the colony and a distinguished negotiator and litigator who had 124 cases in eight years and won every one of them.
Every year, the American Bar Association grants Margaret Brent Awards to five outstanding women lawyers who have achieved excellence in the field.
3. 70% of women lawyers who belong to a minority group consider leaving the legal profession.
According to law firm statistics, women-of-color lawyers have the highest attrition rate as they face firm cultures due to which their efforts aren’t sufficiently recognized and rewarded.
Furthermore, many female lawyers deal with negative stereotyping. An example of this would be Latina lawyers who are often mistaken for interpreters in the courtroom.
4. Women of color make only 2% of equity partners in large law firms.
Lawyer employment statistics indicate that this percentage has stayed the same in the last 20 years. Survey participants reported that they had experienced bias and stereotyping in the profession.
One participant even mentioned that she had achieved immense results just to get similar opportunities as everyone else. Considering this, it’s no surprise that the percentage has remained the same in the last two decades.
5. Lawyer statistics show that 50% of women and 6% of men experienced sexual harassment at work.
Reports also state that 16% of women and 1% of men lost job opportunities due to rejecting unwanted sexual advances. One of every two women said she had experienced sexual harassment.
Also, 28% of women avoided reporting sexual harassment due to fear of receiving payback, while 1% of men reported the same avoidance behavior. These upsetting results show us that sexual harassment in the legal industry is still present.
African American Lawyers Statistics
To date, the African American community has been considered a part of the minority group. However, people should know that they’re necessary for the legal industry because representation is essential, and identity-sharing is vital to maintain trust in a client-attorney relationship.
6. Only 5% of the US lawyers are black, even though African Americans comprise 13% of the total population.
The percentage of black lawyers has increased by only 3% in the last decade. The African American community and the rest of the minority groups are still underrepresented in the legal industry.
Moreover, the percentage of lawyers by race show that only 2% of lawyers are Asian, 5% are Hispanic, and 0.4% are Native American.
7. The first licensed African American lawyer in the US was Macon Bolling Allen.
He was only 28 years old when he became one. Although born in Indiana, he moved to Maine to be admitted to the Maine Bar association. In 1844, he passed the bar examination and acquired a license to practice law.
In the beginning, it was complicated for him to find a job because only a few African Americans were living in Maine, and not plenty of people were willing to hire a black attorney.
He moved to Boston, where he opened an office with Robert Morris Sr. It became the first African American law office in the US.
8. Legal industry statistics report that the first African American Supreme Court lawyer was John S. Rock.
In 1865, President Lincoln signed the Thirteenth Amendment to abolish slavery. On the same day, John Swett Rock became the first African American to practice before the US Supreme Court.
Lawyer facts reported that he had already been an accomplished teacher, dentist, and doctor before becoming a lawyer — all of that before turning 30. He was also one of the first African Americans to obtain a medical degree in 1852.
9. Samuel Lowery was the first African American lawyer to argue before the Supreme Court.
An interesting fact about lawyers who belong to the African American community is that the first attorney to attest in front of the US Supreme Court was a former slave from Alabama named Samuel R. Lowery.
His father was a black slave, and his mother was a free Cherokee who died when he was only eight years old. He was 50 when the first woman admitted to the bar, Belva Ann Lockwood, sponsored him to the US Supreme Court.
10. According to US lawyer facts and statistics, Thurgood Marshall was the first African American Supreme Court Justice.
(National Constitution Center, History)
In 1967, the Senate confirmed Thurgood Marshall as the Supreme Court Justice. He was nominated by President Johnson to replace the retiring Justice, Tom Clark.
He was a long-time civil rights litigator and had a record-breaking 32 cases represented in front of the Supreme Court, winning 29 of them. He served for 24 years before retiring in 1991.
Interesting Lawyer Demographics in 2020
Apart from statistics on women lawyers and African American lawyers, you can also find some interesting facts about lawyer demographics below.
11. Law statistics indicate that the percentage of LGBT law firm partners has increased.
In 2009, 1.4% of law firm partners were LGBT; today, the percentage is 2.1%. Reports also show a similar trend among law firm associates. Back in 2009, the percentage was 2.3%, and today, it is 4.3%.
This gradual increase informs us that the current acceptance of the LGBT community is evident in the legal profession. Moreover, 3.35% of all attorneys in large firms are LGBT. The size of the firm is relative to the number of LGBT associates.
Big law firms have a higher reported percentage, while smaller firms have a relatively small percentage of LGBT partners and associates.
12. The newest Latina lawyer statistics report that 2% percent of attorneys in the US are Latina.
(Michigan Journal of Race and Law)
Several factors contribute to this percentage, including gender bias and stereotyping. A common type of stereotyping regarding Latina lawyers is that they are often misidentified as interpreters in the courtroom.
Also, a lack of role models and financial resources can be a barrier for young Latinas to consider pursuing a law career.
13. Statistics about lawyers in the US show that only 5% of them are Hispanic.
Although the number is low, considering that 18.5% of the US population is Hispanic, the percentage has increased by 4% in the last decade.
Reports also state that 34% of the Hispanic lawyers work in law firms, 25% work for the government, and only 12% chose to be solo practitioners.
14. Lawyer statistics show that only 2% of lawyers in the US are Asian.
This number is a slight increase from 1.6% in the previous decade, although it is still considered low since 5.9% of the US population is Asian.
Around 30% of Asian lawyers can be found working in law firms, while 18% choose to work for the government. Also, 21% of Asian lawyers work as house counsels in businesses, and 8% decide to be solo practitioners.
15. Only 0.4% of lawyers are Native Americans.
The percentage of Native American lawyers is proportional to their percentage in the total US population — 1.3%. Not only is the percentage small, but it’s also lower than ten years ago when it was 0.7%.
The greatest number of Native American lawyers, 22% of them, work in the tribal sector. About 20% work in law firms, 11% work for the government, and 8% serve in the nonprofit sector.
Lawyer Job Satisfaction Statistics
The legal profession is among the most stressful ones. As lawyers often work long hours and are under a lot of stress, people wonder what their satisfaction levels are. Read on and find out.
16. Newest lawyer happiness statistics show that 87% of men and 72% of women are extremely or somewhat satisfied with Big Law.
(ABA Journal, Chron)
Big Law refers to the high-earning, large law firms based in major US cities such as New York and Los Angeles. The main factors that influence lawyer satisfaction levels are intellectual challenges, employee appreciation, compensation, advancement opportunities, and performance evaluation.
Women in law statistics show that female lawyers in solo practice are more satisfied than men in solo practice. Women are happier in larger firms with about 12 to 100 lawyers, while men are happier in smaller firms.
Moreover, 89.3% of men and 77.4% of women practicing in the public interest area are satisfied with their job.
17. Lawyer depression statistics show that lawyers are 3.6 times more likely to suffer from depression than non-lawyers.
(Dave Nee Foundation, Above the Law)
As mentioned earlier, lawyers have the highest depression rate in the United States. Reports indicate that about 40% of law students suffer from psychological dysfunction after finishing law school.
Apart from depression, lawyer suicide statistics show that lawyers rank fifth regarding the incidence of suicide by profession, and 15% of lawyers with clinical depression commit suicide.
Moreover, American Bar Association statistics report that 21% of licensed and employed attorneys have drinking problems, 28% struggle with depression, 19% show signs of anxiety, and 23% are under a lot of stress.
Additional Lawyer Facts and Statistics
18. Lawyer specialty statistics show that medical lawyers are the highest-paid legal professionals.
Medical lawyers provide legal services related to medical law, and their average salary is $150,881 per year. These lawyers represent hospitals and health care clinics in court.
Apart from representing cases related to healthcare law and medical malpractice, they also handle personal injury cases.
19. According to criminal lawyer statistics, the predicted growth for all law jobs is 8%.
(The Balance Careers)
Like all other lawyers in the industry, criminal lawyers also work long hours. They’re known as criminal defense lawyers or public defense lawyers. They defend in court those who have been charged with a crime.
According to statistics, the profession is projected to grow in the following years. Unfortunately, this projected growth tells us that the number of crimes in our society is expected to increase as well.
Most criminal defense lawyers work in private firms, and those who own private practice earn the highest salaries. The median annual salary for criminal lawyers is $120,910.
20. According to law firm size statistics, Baker Mckenzie LLP is the largest firm in the US.
(Above the Law)
The Chicago-based firm Baker Mckenzie LLP currently has 4,809 lawyers, which makes it the largest firm in the US. DLA Piper from New York is in second place with 3,894 lawyers, and in third place is another New York-based firm, Norton Rose Fulbright, with 3,266 lawyers.
21. The average age of lawyers is 47.5 years old.
Lawyers are older than most American workers. The reason is that very few lawyers are younger than 25, and plenty of them continue working after they turn 65. Moreover, the report shows that approximately 15% of all lawyers are older than 65.
22. The lawyer employment rate is expected to grow 4% by 2029.
This percentage may not be that high, but it shows that the demand for legal services is expected to increase in the future. Although the industry’s growth is predicted to be slow, interest in the legal profession is still increasing, and the demand for legal services will remain an essential part of society.
People, businesses, and society will need legal services at some point in their lives.
23. The number of lawyers in the US has increased by 10.4% in the last decade.
This increase is bigger than the growth of the total population. During the same period, the US population has grown by 6.3%.
The steady increase in the last decade tells us that many young people still consider pursuing a legal career, even though negative issues surround it. Lawyers often face long working hours and high levels of stress that can lead to depression.
24. Lawyer income statistics report that the national average annual wage of a lawyer is $144,230.
The Bureau of Labor and Statistics indicates that this amount is three times bigger than the annual average salary for all occupations. By looking at the amount, we can see why the profession is many people’s dream, even though it’s one of the most grueling professions in society.
Also, it should be noted that differences in the average salary exist among states. Here are the top three states with the highest average lawyer salary:
- California: $171,550
- New York: $167,110
- Massachusetts: $165,610
25. Lawyer statistics show that New York is the state with the greatest number of lawyers.
The number of lawyers is not always proportional to the state size. Here is the list of the top five states regarding the number of lawyers by state:
- New York — 186,662 lawyers
- California — 168,569 lawyers
- Texas — 92,833 lawyers
- Florida — 79,328 lawyers
- Illinois — 62,720 lawyers
The biggest state, Alaska, is not included in the list. Instead, the state reports a decrease of 4% in the number of lawyers since 2010. This information supports the claim that larger states and larger populations don’t necessarily have more lawyers.
As we’ve seen, the legal industry is not for the faint of heart. Lawyers are essential in our society, and they’ve spent a significant amount of years studying the laws of the land.
From the lawyer statistical report, we can see that the profession still faces gender and race inequality. Although the fight for equality may be slow, we’re taking the necessary steps to achieve it.
Even though the profession is synonymous with overworking and high stress levels, many youths still aspire to join the legal industry. Despite the negativity surrounding it, the value it adds to society is enough to earn respect.
Frequently Asked Questions
What percentage of the population are lawyers?
According to the newest data, 0.36% of people currently practice law in the US. However, they are not evenly distributed among 50 states. The greatest percentage of lawyers in the US can be found in New York City’s five boroughs.
On the other hand, 54 counties in the country don’t have any lawyers, and 182 have only one or two of them.
What percentage of lawyers are White?
Although the percentage of lawyers of color has grown in the last 10 years, white lawyers of both genders are still overrepresented in the profession.
According to the newest data, 86% of lawyers are white. This number is considered a decline from 89% recorded approximately 10 years ago.
On the other hand, the number of mixed-race lawyers has grown from close to zero to nearly 2% in the last six years.
How many lawyers were in the US in 2019?
Law industry statistics recorded an increase of 14.5% in the number of lawyers in the last ten years. At the beginning of 2019, the total number of active lawyers in the US was 1,352,027, up from 1,180,386 in 2009.
Out of that number, 64% of active lawyers were men, and 36% were women. Moreover, the number of active lawyers increased by 0.7% from 2018.
What percent of lawyers are female?
Legal statistics show that the female lawyers’ percentage increased from 31% in 2009 and is now 37%. Although male lawyers still considerably outnumber female ones, this is gradually changing.
Lawyer stats recorded that only 3% of lawyers were female from 1950 to 1970. The percentage has steadily increased by then — it was 8% in 1980, 20% in 1991, and 27% in 2000.
What percentage of lawyers are Black females?
Although the number of female lawyers has experienced a gradual rise, the percentage of black female lawyers remains small. According to law firm stats, the percent of African-American female lawyers experienced an increase of only 0.38% at the associate level and 0.11% at the partner level since 2009.
Moreover, women of color have the highest attrition rate from law firms as their efforts and contributions aren’t sufficiently valued.
Who is the most expensive lawyer in the world?
According to lawyer salary statistics, the title of the most expensive lawyer goes to Albert Stainoz. He’s one of America’s top lawyers who has lost only about 0.69% of his cases.
This percentage means that, up until now, he has won 99.31% of his cases. For an hour of consultancy or any other service, he charges as much as $15,000.
How many lawyers are in the world?
It’s a fact that lawyers can be found on six out of the seven continents in the world and approximately 60 countries. However, we cannot calculate the total number of lawyers worldwide since each country has distinct methods of recording data.
Moreover, each country has its legal bars, and some attorneys may be members of more than one. Lawyer statistics may not be able to show the exact number of lawyers in the world, but here’s a list of the countries with the highest number of lawyers per capita:
- US — 1 lawyer per 300 people
- Brazil — 1 lawyer per 326 people
- New Zealand — 1 lawyer per 391 people
- Spain — 1 lawyer per 395 people
- UK — 1 lawyer per 401 people