Monday, June 27, 2011

Surfeit of Lawyers?

The New York Times Economix Blog reports today on the number of lawyers passing the bar per state, compared to the number of openings for lawyers in existing firms, and whether that amounted to a surplus or shortage. They created a nifty chart, including hourly wages for the 2009 bars. They conclude that the most over-lawyered states, in order:

New York
New Jersey

There is a fairly sharp drop down to the next states below these, if you are tracking the surpluses. There are a few places where the production of lawyers is not so far out of line with the demand. And you must keep in mind that not all those who pass the bar are looking to take jobs advertised with law firms. There are people who want to work in academe, business, finance, health care with a JD degree and have the bar behind them. And there are a number who take the bar exam planning to hang out their own shingle or work in a small firm or who already have a job in hand. But, it is a disturbing analysis, especially when you look at the overall total for the nation: In 2009, we produced 27,269 more lawyers who passed state bar exams than there were advertised positions for.

1 comment:

Marie S. Newman said...

This was really eye opening--the graphics do a good job of making the point that going to law school doesn't make a lot of sense for a lot of students. There are a few states that don't have enough lawyers to meet the legal needs of the population, and if I were a new attorney, that's where I'd be looking to set up shop.