Legal services industry in the U.S. - Statistics & Facts

The legal services industry in the United States generated 256.66 billion U.S. dollars in revenue in 2013. By 2018, this revenue is expected to increase to approximately 288 billion. Industry revenue has increased year-on-year since the 2009 global recession. The leading law firm worldwide in terms of gross revenue in 20156 was Latham & Watkins. The firm was first founded in California by Dana Latham a Paul Watkins in 1934. Today, Latham & Watkins employs more than 2,200 lawyers in 14 different countries.

In 2017, 1.1 million people were employed in legal occupations in the U.S. This number was set to rise to 1.38 million in 2022. The largest share of those working in legal occupations was comprised of lawyers. Lawyers also earned the most in this industry, with a mean annual wage of over 136 thousand U.S. dollars. More than 40 percent of 2015 law graduates had taken up employment with law firms by March 2016 and 62.4 percent were working in occupations which required the passage of the bar exam.

Women are still underrepresented in the legal profession: as of April 2016, only 36 percent of employees in the industry were women. In the 50 best law firms for women according to Flex-Time Lawyers and Working Mother, the gender distribution of employees appears to be much more even in the general ranks. However, partners were still predominantly male. In 2015, female lawyers earned 89.7 percent of the salaries of their male counterparts. The industry wage gap is potentially decreasing however, as saw 2015 the smallest imbalance of the last ten years. The largest pay disparity in that time frame was experienced in 2006, when female lawyers earned only 70.5 percent of a male lawyers' salary.

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