Lawyer count in US increases 14.5% from decade ago; these 5 states have highest number of active attorneys

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The number of active lawyers in the United States increased 14.5% over the last decade, according to statistics released Friday by the ABA.

The total number of active lawyers at the beginning of 2019 was 1,352,027, up from 1,180,386 in 2009, according to the ABA’s National Lawyer Population Survey.

The increase in active lawyers from 2018 to 2019 was 0.7%, the ABA reported.

The last time there were fewer than 1 million lawyers in the United States was 1998, when there were 985,921 lawyers, according to historical data.

The five states with the highest number of resident active attorneys are:

1.) New York, with 182,296 active lawyers living in the state;

2.) California, with 170,117 active lawyers living in the state;

3.) Texas, with 91,244 active lawyers living in the state;

4.) Florida, with 78,448 active lawyers living in the state;

5.) And Illinois, with 62,720 active lawyers living in the state.

Sixty-four percent of active lawyers are men and 36% are women, according to 44 states that provided the data. In 2009, when 40 states provided data, 69% of lawyers were men and 31% were women.

Only 20 states provided data on race and ethnicity. In 2019, 85% of lawyers in those states identify as Caucasian or white, 5% as African-American or black, 5% as Latino, 2% as Asian, 2% as multiracial, and 1% as Native American.

The ABA collects the data from state bar associations and licensing agencies, which are asked to provide numbers of resident and active attorneys. Two states and the U.S. Virgin Islands did not provide current data for 2019, so the prior year’s statistics were used. In addition, three states provided corrected lawyer counts for 2018, which were reflected in the new report.

Some states differ in how they count lawyers. A few count all active lawyers, for example, even if they don’t live in the state. And Oklahoma does not count lawyers above age 70 as active resident lawyers, even though they still can practice law.

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