In the last 10 years, the total number of law firms has
grown by 50%.
Law firms are also increasing in size. In 1978, only 15
firms in the United States had 200 or more lawyers. By 1982,
the number had risen to 36; and by 1987, there were 105 firms
with 200 or more lawyers. In 1994, there were over 200 firms
with more than 200 lawyers.
The total number of lawyers is increasing dramatically.
Ten years ago, there were 540,000 lawyers in the U.S., one
for every 418 people. Today, there are approximately 875,000
lawyers, one for every 310 people. By 1996, there will be
more than 1 million lawyers, one for every 280 people.
More women are entering the profession. In 1970, there
were only 13,000 women lawyers. In 1980, there were 62,000.
In 1987, there were 132,000 women lawyers -- a 1,000%
increase in 17 years. This year, half the people admitted to
law school are women.
From 1985 to 1995, law firm overhead increased 160%.
In the last 10 years, the average starting salary offer
for new associates has risen 119%.
Over the same 10 years, the average compensation paid to
associates has risen 116%.
Meanwhile, average partner compensation is up only 90%
during the same period. And studies have continually shown
that net income per partner, in real dollars, has declined.
Today, law firms invest more than 13% of their working
capital in computers. Ten years ago, the number was less than
4%. In the future, the capital investment in technology is
sure to he an even larger share.