Consultant Backtracks: Lawyer Surplus in Nearly Every State

There was scant good news when Economic Modeling Specialists released its analysis of job openings and bar passage numbers this week. The consulting company concluded that nearly every state has an oversupply of lawyers. The exceptions, it said, were Nebraska, Wisconsin and Washington, D.C.

Now the company is taking a second look at the numbers, the Washington Post reports. EMS notes that Washington, D.C., allows lawyers to practice there if they passed the bar in another state, and Wisconsin admits graduates of law schools in the state to the bar without requiring an exam.

As a result, Economic Modeling Specialists has arrived at a new conclusion: There might not be any states with a lawyer shortage.

The study 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. Overall, 53,508 people passed the bar in 2009, about twice the number of estimated job openings, which was 26,239.

New York had 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.

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