At least half of the lawyers in these nine states and jurisdictions aren't working as lawyers

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Nearly 69 percent of lawyers in Puerto Rico aren’t working as attorneys, according to analysis by the blog, The Last Gen X American.

The commonwealth tops a list of states and jurisdictions with the highest percentage of lawyers who aren’t directly employed as attorneys, according to the blog post by Matt Leichter, an attorney based in Minneapolis. In Puerto Rico and eight states, at least half of the lawyers aren’t working in attorney jobs.

Leichter calls lawyers who aren’t working in attorney jobs “excess attorneys.” He determined the number in each state by calculating the difference between the number of “acting and resident” lawyers in a state, and the number of employed lawyers, as determined by state governments. His numbers are based on 2014 statistics.

Excess attorneys may not be employed as attorneys for several reasons, the blog explains. They may be “judges, politicians, businesspeople whose careers advanced due to their law degrees; or, they may be people who were unable to find careers as lawyers, are working in fields that don’t require law degrees, are choosing not to work at all, or are unemployed yet still maintaining active licenses.” The numbers could also be affected by a “measurement gap,” the blog says.

Leichter included Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., in his analysis. The states and jurisdictions where at least 50 percent of lawyers who aren’t working in attorney jobs are: Puerto Rico (68.9 percent); Alaska (56.7 percent); Tennessee (53.6 percent); Alabama (51.5 percent); Missouri (50.8 percent); Louisiana (50.5 percent); Maryland (50.3 percent); Massachusetts (50.1 percent); and Minnesota (50 percent).

Using figures from 2016, Leichter also charted the states and jurisdictions with the most lawyers per 10,000 residents. Washington, D.C. led the way with 773.8 followed by New York (88.7).

Rounding out the top 10 are Massachusetts (63.5); Connecticut (60.2); Illinois (49.3); New Jersey (46.5); Minnesota (45.2); California (42.7), Missouri (40.9) and Louisiana (40.8).

Leichter also lists the number of excess lawyers by state or jurisdiction per 10,000 residents, and based on 2014 figures. Again, Washington, D.C. heads that list with 197.42, followed by New York with 39.97.

Making up the remainder of that list’s top 10 are Massachusetts (32.85), Puerto Rico (27.54), Minnesota (23.15), Missouri (21.22), Illinois (20.21), Louisiana (20.11), Maryland (19.77) and Alaska (18.99).

Leichter developed his numbers from ABA data on lawyer population by state, state population figures from the U.S. Census Bureau, and lawyer employment figures from state governments.

Law360 (sub. req.) noted Leichter’s blog post in a story titled “The Guy Making Your Coffee in NYC & DC? Probably a Lawyer.”

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