'Uncle Sam, Esq.' employs more than 25,000 lawyers

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The federal government employs 25,060 people under the job classification “general attorney,” costing the government $3.3 billion last year.

In 12 states, the total number of people on the public payroll was smaller, according to a Forbes op-ed that refers to the federal lawyers as “Uncle Sam, Esq.” Alaska, for example, has 25,050 people on the public payroll, while Idaho has 20,270.

The average pay for a federal lawyer in fiscal 2014 was $132,817, according to the article. More than half of the lawyers were located in Washington, D.C., area.

More than 1,400 lawyers work for the Internal Revenue Service; 1,020 work for the Environmental Protection Agency; and 160 work for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The op-ed doesn’t see federal employment for lawyers as a good thing. “American citizens and the business community have good reason to fear the feds army of 25,060 lawyers,” the article asserts. “In The Godfather, Mario Puzo had it right. Today, the heavy boot of government often comes disguised wearing a pair of wingtips delivering intrusive subpoenas devoid of due process.”

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