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Number of lawyers in the U.S. 2007-2020

How many lawyers are in the U.S.?

The total number of lawyers in the United States has seen little increase in the last few years; in 2020, there were 1.33 million lawyers in the U.S. – virtually unchanged from the previous year, and not much above the 2015 figure of 1.3 million.

Lawyers in the U.S.

Unlike many other common law countries, the United States does not differentiate between lawyers who plead in court and those who do not. For example, in the United Kingdom the former are titled barristers and the latter solicitors. However, in the U.S., terms such as lawyer and attorney can refer to either profession.

Oversupply in the U.S. legal industry

Despite continuous growth of the U.S. legal services market since the great recession, there is an oversupply of lawyers relative to the number of jobs. An overproduction of law graduates is one cause of this oversupply; consequently the number of law graduates shrunk by around a quarter between 2013 and 2017. Increasing automation is another cause, with around half of law firms admitting to replacing human resources with technology in the last two years.

Number of lawyers in the United States from 2007 to 2020

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Release date

July 2020


United States

Survey time period

2007 to 2020

Supplementary notes

Figures have been rounded. Individual state bar associations or licensing agencies were asked to provide the number of resident and active attorneys as of December 31st of the prior year, e.g. 2018 data is as of 12/31/2017. The numbers reflected here are the best available data provided from the respective associations or agencies.
Values have been rounded.

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Statistics on "BigLaw firms in the U.S."

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