Lawyer Statistics for Success in 2024

Written by Sharon Miki8 minutes well spent
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Given the events of the past year, preparing for success in 2024 can feel overwhelming for lawyers. Thankfully, key lawyer statistics can make preparing for 2024 a lot easier. From the current number of lawyers in the US to how (and how much) attorneys across the country are billing, knowing up-to-date lawyer facts and statistics can give you a clearer picture of where you stand, and which direction you may want to head.

Whether you’re currently contemplating law school, starting your career as a new lawyer, or trying to guide your business in the right direction as a seasoned legal professional, we’ve compiled the following statistics about lawyers to illuminate where the industry stands today—and help you make key decisions for success this year and beyond.

And of course, for the latest statistics, always be sure to download the latest Legal Trends Report!

How Many Lawyers Are in the US?

As of 2023, according to the American Bar Association’s Profile of the Legal Profession, there are approximately 1.3 million lawyers in the United States. This equates to four lawyers for every 1,000 residents, offering insight into the legal industry’s scope and scale.

The states with the most lawyers are New York, Maryland, and Massachusetts

Where are the majority of those lawyers located? The ABA’s Profile of the Legal Profession reports that New York (with 9.6 lawyers per 1,000 residents), Massachusetts (with 6.1 lawyers per 1,000 residents), and Connecticut (with 5.8 lawyers per 1,000 residents) were the states with the most lawyers per residents based on 2023 population data.

If you practice in these states, you’ll know that competition is tough. Making sure you have a strong law firm brand is one of the key ways you can stand out from your competitors. And if you don’t practice in these states, you can look into easing the access to justice gap and accessing more of the market in your area.

39% of lawyers are female and 79% are white

The American Bar Association’s 10-year look at lawyer demographic trends shows some movement towards equality (in 2010, only 31% of lawyers were female and 89% of attorneys were white), but the statistics about lawyers show that the profession still has work to do.

What does this lawyer statistic mean for your law firm? As Lawline highlights, diversity has many benefits, including increasing innovation at your firm and bringing more diverse clients. To improve law firm diversity and inclusion with your firm’s brand, Katy Goshtasbi underscores a powerful four-step process to reimagining your law firm brand with diversity and EQ in mind.

Champion equality and be an ally with these five tips and strategies to build a diverse and inclusive law firm.

Women outnumber men in law schools

woman in graduation gown

Looking again at the ABA’s Profile of the Legal Profession, the number of female law students is rising: Of the 116,000 law school students in the US, 55.7% are women (and, at four law schools, women outnumber men two-to-one).

Comparing this to statistic #3 above, there seems to be a disconnect between the number of women in law schools, and the number of women moving on to becoming legal practitioners. The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) indicates that in the US, the top barriers women face in the workplace include getting a job and protecting women from violence. It is worth examining how your law firm can foster a better environment for hiring more women and improving diversity.

Jobs for lawyers are expected to grow 8% in the next decade

The job outlook for lawyers—according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook—is overall positive, with a 8% projected growth rate for lawyers between 2022 and 2032, which is in line with the projected average for all jobs. 

For more lawyer statistics, check out our blog: Seven legal marketing statistics every attorney should know

In 2022, the median pay for a lawyer was $135,740


As of May of 2022, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook reports that the median annual wage for lawyers was $135,740. While it varies by region and practice area, knowing the lawyer statistics for average pay can help you assess where you stand when it comes to income.

The average hourly rate for lawyers was $327 per hour in August 2023

Billable rates for lawyers are rising. As reported in Clio’s 2023 Legal Trends Report, the average hourly billable rate for lawyers has been on the upswing in recent years and hit $300 by the start of 2021.

The highest average hourly rate by state is $365 in DC

When it comes to hourly rates by state for lawyers, the 2023 Legal Trends Report shows that lawyers in DC charge the highest hourly rate, followed by $339 per hour by lawyers in New York.

The lowest average hourly billable rate by state is $160 in West Virginia

At the other end of the spectrum, the lowest average hourly billable rate for lawyers in the US is in West Virginia, according to the 2023 Legal Trends Report. The report also looks at rates adjusted for cost of living, which is worth looking at if you’re deciding where to practice.

The highest average hourly billing rate by practice area was $377 for intellectual property

Different practice areas charge vastly different rates, as well. The 2023 Legal Trends Report found that for law firms, intellectual property was the practice area with the highest average hourly billing rate.

The lowest average hourly billing rate by practice area was $125 for juvenile

The practice area with the lowest average hourly billing rate for lawyers? Juvenile law, according to Clio’s 2023 Legal Trends Report.

The average lawyer billed just 2.5 hours (31%) of an 8-hour day 

Utilization rate

One of the biggest challenges that law firms deal with appears to be the low utilization rates we see on an industry-wide basis. Utilization is the measure of how much of an 8-hour workday is devoted to billable work at a law firm, measured on a per-lawyer basis. As shown in the 2023 Legal Trends Report, in 2022, the average lawyer billed just 2.72 hours (34%) of an 8-hour day, indicating that many lawyers either don’t have enough clients to fill their day or that they struggle with inefficiencies in their firms that distract from billable work. Low utilization rates might indicate a need for more clients or improved efficiency. 

Use automation to increase efficiency at your law firm: Watch our on-demand webinar to learn more.

Lawyers don’t collect on 11% of the hours they bill to clients

The 2023 Legal Trends Report also notes a collection rate (that is, the percentage of hours collected divided by the number of hours invoiced) of 89%—which means that lawyers are not paid for 11% of hours that they’ve worked and billed to clients. Finding a way to increase this rate could mean more potential revenue coming in for the hours already worked.

69% of legal practices aren’t currently using AI

The 2023 Legal Trends Report also found the majority of practices aren’t currently using AI, though 51% of legal professionals do want to use AI more in the future.

Firms using payment plans collect 49% more monthly revenue per lawyer

Another key statistic about lawyers from the 2023 Legal Trends Report is that practices collect more revenue overall when they offer legal payment plans

Solo firms saw the greatest difference, with 71% more monthly revenue, while mid-sized firms saw a 32% increase in monthly revenue.

46% of consumers prefer to pay by credit cards

Reinforcing these lawyer statistics, as Clio’s 2023 Legal Trends Report noted, the ability to make payments electronically is non-negotiable for many clients. Only one in five consumers preferred paying by check, and even fewer prefer to pay with caseh.

Firms get paid twice as fast with online payments

Online payments

As shown in the 2023 Legal Trends Report, providing an online payment option gets law firms paid more quickly, and more consistently. This results in also greater cash flow for those practices.

59% of lawyers are using web-based software solutions

Cloud computing continues to be significant for business success, with the majority of lawyers using online solutions—70% of participants in the 2023 ABA Legal Technology Survey Report said that they used web-based software services or solutions.

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64% of law firms budget for technology

This is a slight increase from 2020, where only 62% of firms indicated to the ABA Legal Technology Survey Report that they budgeted for tech. We expect this number to increase significantly in years to come.

89% of legal professionals believe court systems can be improved with better access to technology

One benefit of the sudden need to rethink meeting in person is that it’s shown that technology could be used to improve court processes. As the majority of legal professionals indicate in the 2023 Legal Trends Report, using more technology could lead to opportunities for positive changes in the courts. Moving processes like case management and court files to electronic systems could increase efficiency and affordability for the people they are meant to serve—and ultimately help improve access to justice.

Solo attorneys who use cloud-based LPM software are 62% more likely to be happy with their client relationships

As the 2023 Legal Trends for Solo Law Firms shows, solo law firms using cloud-based legal practice management software are not only happier with their client relationships but also 24% more likely to report being happy with their professional life and 21% more likely to be satisfied with their own mental and emotional wellness.

For the latest law firm statistics, be sure to download the latest Legal Trends Report, so your firm can be set up for success long-term.

Do lawyers use statistics?

All lawyers can benefit from reviewing certain statistics. Statistical data can help lawyers forecast and prepare for the future. Specifically, marketing and business statistics can complement your firm’s growth strategy by helping provide a fuller picture of the legal landscape.

Categorized in: Business, Technology

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