How Big is the Legal Industry in the United States?

How Big is the Legal Industry in the United States?

Most Litigious Country in the World?

We have written about the legal industry a few times on NorthCentralCareers and are always saying how the US is the most litigious country on earth and has the most lawyers. Anyone who’s lived outside of the US, as we have, and then lives in the US can testify to just how different this country is where lawyers and law firms are concerned.

They advertise their services everywhere and are used for a huge range of purposes. But is this just a product of the US advertising system, are there really that many more lawyers in the US and if so, just how big is the legal industry in this country?

How Many Lawyers are in the US?

Over three decades ago there were more than 400,000 lawyers in the United States, today that number is more than 3 times bigger with more than 1 and a quarter million lawyers operating within the country.

But the industry could be on the decline as the number of law students going through law school is dropping and the world of personal injury is getting more competition. You need a lot of experience, skills and credentials to make it as a malpractice litigation attorney in this day and age and many newcomers are struggling.

This bodes well for people hiring lawyers, because competition means more competitive prices and in a world where only the best survive, the average skill level goes through the roof.

While the total number of lawyers is very high, it’s not necessarily high compared to the population. As an example, there are around 120,000 certified lawyers in the United Kingdom, which is around 0.02% of the population. The 1.25 million lawyers in the US is around 0.35%. It’s higher, but it’s not quite reflective of the idea that many outsiders have about the number of lawyers in the United States.

How Big is the Legal Industry?

It has been estimated that the total value of the legal industry in the United States exceeds $160 billion a year, making it one of the richest industries in the United States. That is roughly the same size as the nominal GDP of Qatar, an oil and industry rich country in the Middle East.

What’s more, recent research suggests that the legal industry is holding up against workforce decline in the United States and that it is able to rebound quickly while other industries struggle, while also being less likely to struggle in the fist place.

This is likely because while the legal industry is not entirely recession proof, it does offer a service that will always be needed and tends to adapt better than many other big money industries in the United States.

What is the Most Litigious Country in the World?

As you probably expected, the United States does top the list when it comes to the number of lawyers per capita. In second place is Brazil, who have roughly 1 lawyer for every 325 people, and they are followed by New Zealand and Spain.

If you base this statistic on the number of cases filed per capita, however, then it’s a different story and the United States are in fifth, with Germany, Sweden, Israel and Austria ahead of them.

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