The population of California is 38.8 million, which makes it the largest state in the U.S. by a large margin (2nd is Texas at 26 million). If it were a country, California would be 34th in size, beating Canada, Malaysia, and Poland.
And yet, the per capita number of lawyers is big, but not that big. California is 8th in the nation, boasting 43 lawyers per 10,000 residents, a rate that is half of New York’s per capita rate (but New York is only second; first is Washington D.C., which has 803 lawyers per capita - or roughly 1 in 10).
According to the California Bar, our state has 187,068 lawyers who actively maintain their bar licenses. This includes the vast breadth of people who utilize their law degree in various ways, including litigators, estate planners, licensing experts, advisors, MBAs, business owners, professors, and politicians.
Compare this to California's 102,000 physicians and 35,000 dentists, both of which are said to be below the optimal number necessary to meet our state’s needs.
Los Angeles is the largest district. We have 54,000 lawyers in this county, not including 580 judges! Compare this to Alpine County, CA, which only has 2 attorneys.
It’s true, we have plenty of lawsuits in the U.S. But we are almost tied with the U.K. and are only slightly more litigious than Denmark. In fact, we barely break the top 5 worldwide. The most litigious countries, in ascending order: Austria, Israel, Sweden, and at the very top Germany.
Each California lawyer has a unique six digit bar number. The number is used to identify each bar member. But you can also tell roughly how long that member has been a member of our bar by that number. My bar number is 223572. This means that in the history of California State Bar (est. 1927), I was the 223,572nd member to be admitted. The bar numbers currently issued are in the 300,000s. Every year, we add about 6,000 attorneys to our ranks. Attorneys also leave our ranks too, and not always by death or retirement - many of them find other things to do with their law degree.
At MEHTALEGAL, we like to think our attorneys are one in a million.