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Study Finds a Lawyer Surplus in Nearly Every State; DC Has a Deficit

Posted Jun 28, 2011 7:23 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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All but two states and the District of Columbia have an oversupply of lawyers, according to a consulting company’s calculations.

Economic Modeling Specialists Inc. compared the number of people who passed the bar exam in each state in 2009 with the estimated number of lawyer job openings in those states, according to the New York Times Economix blog. The study found that every jurisdiction except for Wisconsin, Nebraska and Washington, D.C., has an oversupply of lawyers.

Overall, 53,508 people passed the bar in 2009, about twice the number of estimated job openings, which was 26,239. New York has the greatest lawyer surplus, estimated to be 7,687 too many lawyers for each of the next several years if bar passage numbers stay the same. It is followed by California, New Jersey, Illinois and Massachusetts, with surpluses ranging from 2,951 to 1,450 too many lawyers each year.

Washington, D.C., on the other hand, has the greatest lawyer shortage. Only 273 passed the bar there in 2009, but it is estimated to have 618 new jobs for each of the next few years.

Above the Law noted the study. “Do they even teach math in schools anymore?” the blog asks.

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