This WSJ law blog article led me to this ABA chart tracking state attorney populations on both a current and historical basis.

According to the report, Mississippi has 7,059 attorneys. That’s up 8.6% from the 6,500 we had in 2005, but down from the 2007 peak of 7,312.

States with the most growth in attorneys are growth states with vibrant economies:

  • Arizona- 30.6%
  • Florida- 53.3%
  • Georgia- 25.7%
  • North Carolina- 33.7%
  • North Dakota- 27.9%
  • Pennsylvania- 27.4%
  • Tennessee- 27.8%
  • Utah- 46.1%
  • Texas- 24.6% (over 86,000 lawyers total)
  • Wyoming- 27.6% (less than 2,000 lawyers total)

To fully appreciate what this means for the legal industry in Mississippi, check out some of my prior posts about civil action filings here and here. The short version is that in 2015 we need a lot less lawyers in Mississippi than we did in 2005, yet have 8.6% more.

And the revenue pie is much smaller than it was 10 years ago. In this 2014 post I speculated that litigation revenue in Mississippi is down 80% from the peak. I still think that’s a good estimate.

The bottom line is that we have way too many lawyers in Mississippi for all of us to make a good living. We could probably lose 2,000 attorneys in the state and no one would notice.

What would be good for Mississippi attorneys is the same thing that would be good for all Mississippians: economic development. Unfortunately, we are led by crony capitalists who think an economic development plan is giving money to strip mall developers. We need a long term plan. Not ad hoc tax breaks that wreak of cronyism.