Given the poor state of our economy in recent years, one would expect that the number of lawyers in the United States would be declining. There has been significant downsizing at larger law firms. Many businesses have been deferring some discretionary legal services. So one would expect a decreased demand for lawyers.
But according to James Podgers (writing in the July 2011 edition of the American Bar Association Journal), the lawyer population in the United States in still on the rise’. Mr. Podgers reports that only five states experienced a drop in their lawyer population between 2010 and 2011. There are over 1.2 million active attorneys in the United States. The American Bar Association reports that is an increase of 2% over 2010 and a 17% increase over 2001.
Ironically, despite the increasing number of lawyers in the United States, many low and middle income individuals simply cannot afford basic legal services.
We live in a litigious society. The ever-increasing number of attorneys (many of whom are coming out of law school with huge amounts of debt) is certainly not likely to make us less litigious at any point in the near future. This is just one of many trends in the United States that make it increasingly important for individuals and businesses to protect their assets to the greatest extent permitted by applicable law – preferably before they end up in any kind of catastrophic lawsuit.