According to the latest BLS national wage estimate through May 2010, the mean annual salary for lawyers was around $129,440, which partly accounts for the fact that the U.S. has one of the highest number of lawyers per capita in the world.
Based on data from the American Bar Association, there are over 1.2 million lawyers in the United States. That’s one attorney for every 254 Americans, which also makes some of the stunning statistics (and what a waste of resources) illustrated in the infographic below somewhat “logical”:
- 15 million lawsuits will be filed in 2011 across the U.S.
- A new lawsuit every 2 seconds
- One lawsuit for every 12 adults
- 21 U.S. states are facing a medical liability crisis
- $248.1 billion = the cost to the U.S. tort system (personal injury) in 2009, or $808 per person
- The cost per capita of tort related lawsuits has increased 800% between 1950 to 2009
The Great Recession may have diminished the ability of lawyers to command a higher salary, but probably at the same time also has increased the likelihood of frivolous litigation, as the odds are good for some kind of settlement to avoid an even more costly trial, particularly when insurance companies are involved.