The US has 1.3 million lawyers, but a quarter are in just 2 states

by Steve Randall14 Aug 2019

The US has 1.3 million lawyers, but a quarter are in just 2 states

A new profile of the legal profession in the United States has been published by the American Bar Association.

It reveals that of the 1.3 million lawyers in the country, 1 in 4 is in either California or New York, while 12% work for the government.

The report also highlights the move forward in diversity since current ABA president Bob Carlson became a lawyer in 1979. Then women made up just 1 in 12 of the 500,000 lawyers in the US while now they make up more than a third.

On the bench, in 1979 there were just 41 African American federal judges and 14 from the Hispanic community; today those numbers are 135 and 88 respectively.

Ethnic minority lawyers make up 15% of the profession but this lags the wider population where more than 23% are minorities. While just 9% of partners in law firms in the US are from minorities, 24% of associates are.

Disabled lawyers make up just one half of 1% of all lawyers and LGBT lawyers make up 2.86%. These stats are from a survey by the National Association for Law Placement.

The profile also reports Bureau of Labor Statistics figures that show the average lawyer salary in the US today is U$144,230.  

Complexity of IP disputes is pushing up costs says MoFo

Companies are handling fewer intellectual property disputes, but the cost of litigation is rising.

A survey from Morrison Foerster shows that, among top legal decision makers from 53 companies with turnovers of at least U$750m, annual spend on IP Litigation matters grew from $1.7 billion in 2005 to $3.3 billion in 2019; annual growth rates have recently slowed but continue at double-digit rates.

There were 27% fewer disputes, with each company handling an average of 11, but the complexity and risk profile of cases has increased with nearly one out of five being classified as “Bet-the-Company” (4%) or “High-Risk” (15.1%); an additional 48% are reported as “Complex or Significant”.

“As litigation becomes more significant, complex, and multi-jurisdictional for companies, top IP legal decision-makers need to adopt a global approach to IP, stay abreast of developments in key jurisdictions, and partner early with counsel who can provide sound advice quickly to minimize costs and risks,” said Richard S.J. Hung, co-chair of Morrison & Foerster’s Intellectual Property Practice Group.

Scottish judge will hear bid to stop no-deal Brexit

The threat by new British leader Boris Johnson to prorogue parliament to force through a no-deal Brexit will face a court action in Scotland.

While the English court that could hear the legal challenge by MPs and Lords is not in session during the summer recess, the equivalent in Scotland is fast-tracking the hearing for the start of September.

The group of politicians behind the action are the same as those that gained clarity from the European Court of Justice that Britain could unilaterally revoke Article 50 and stay in the EU.

They claim that proroguing Parliament would be unlawful and unconstitutional.

The UK is due to leave the EU on 31st October on WTO terms unless a deal can be achieved, or the process is extended or revoked.