Finding a successful path for your law firm can feel a lot like trying to find the light switch in a dark hotel room.

You may not know where you’re going, if you’re approaching your goals, or how to navigate the gauntlet of client expectations.

Being familiar with the latest statistics from the legal industry can help guide you as you pursue growth. 

Below, we’ve gathered some of the top law firm statistics of 2024, including how much lawyers get paid, how effective payment plans are, and more.

How Many Lawyers Are There?

According to the American Bar Association, there were about 1.3 million lawyers in the United States as of last year. More than 135,000 of those are personal injury lawyers. 

This means that for each lawyer in the United States, there are about 250 citizens who could potentially become clients. 

States with the Most Lawyers

Of course, some states have more people working in the legal profession than others. 

New York has the highest concentration of lawyers, with close to ten lawyers per thousand residents. 

Massachusetts isn’t far behind, at a little over six lawyers per thousand residents. And Connecticut comes in third, with just under six lawyers per thousand residents.

If you practice in these states, you need to be prepared for stiff competition. Good branding and excellent intake are important, and you’ll need an SEO strategy that delivers results. 

LawRank can help you improve your search engine rankings and get an edge on your competitors.

Lawyer Demographics

Demographic trends in the legal field over the last ten years show that the industry is making some moves toward gender and racial equality. 

According to the American Bar Association, just under a third of lawyers were women in 2010. Today, that number is closer to 40 percent, and current law school demographics show hopeful trends.

As for racial demographics, in 2010, 89 percent of lawyers were white. More people of color have come into the field, and today, a little under 80 percent of lawyers are white

The legal field still has a long way to go toward true gender and racial equality, but it is making strides in the right direction. 

You can help by hiring diverse lawyers into your firm. Not only does this help support women and people of color in the legal field, but it can also help to bring more diverse clients into your firm.

Law School Demographics

Law school trends are showing even more positive change in the legal field. For instance, there are currently more women in law school than men. In fact, close to 56 percent of law students are women.

The trouble is not all these women will go on to be practitioners. Women face a variety of obstacles to practicing law, from difficulty getting a job to experiencing violence in the workplace. 

It’s always a good idea to review your company culture and see what you can do to make it a more welcoming and safer place for the women on your team.

Job Growth for Lawyers

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth in the legal field is looking positive in the next few years. The Bureau estimates that there will be an 8 percent growth in legal jobs between 2022 and 2032.

We do want to note that this aligns with the BLS’s estimates for the job market growth overall; the law field isn’t necessarily expected to grow more than other areas. 

Median Pay for Lawyers

So, if you decide to become a lawyer, how much can you expect to get paid? This depends strongly on what area of law you practice in and where you live. 

That being said, the median pay rate can give you a good ballpark figure to start looking at.

As of May 2022, the median annual income for lawyers was $135,740

Average Hourly Rate for Lawyers

Many lawyers charge by the hour (although that often isn’t the case for personal injury lawyers). 

As of August 2023, the average hourly rate for lawyers was $327. This is up $27 per hour from the beginning of 2021, just two years before.

We can get a better idea of hourly rates by taking a look at how they change across states and practice areas.

Average Hourly Rates by State

You may not be surprised to learn that Washington, D.C., is the state (or, rather, district) with the highest average hourly rate for lawyers. Lawyers in D.C. averaged $365 an hour as of 2023. 

New York came up second in this category, with lawyers averaging $339 per hour.

West Virginia, on the other hand, had the lowest average billable rate, at $160 per hour

Average Hourly Rates by Practice Area

Intellectual property lawyers topped the hourly billing rates, averaging $377 per hour in the highest-paying areas. Juvenile law paid the lowest on average, at just $125 per hour.

Average Billing Hours Per Day

If you’ve been practicing law for a while, it may come as no surprise that lawyers don’t bill for all the hours they work. 

In fact, on average, lawyers bill for just 2.5 hours for every eight hours worked. This means that they’re billing for just under a third of their working hours.

A couple of things can reduce the time lawyers spend on billable work. Occasionally, they may not have enough case work to fill their days.

More often, lawyers have to spend their workdays doing non-billable work, such as handling intake, managing paperwork, and so on. 

With proper efficient organization, law firms can take this work off lawyers’ shoulders and improve their utilization rate.

Average Collection Rate

Of course, not every dollar billed is collected. 

In fact, on average, lawyers don’t collect 11 percent of the hours they bill clients.

Payment Plan Effectiveness

Did you know that offering payment plans for your clients can help you improve your collection rate? 

According to the 2023 Legal Trends Report, firms that use payment plans collect 49 percent more monthly revenue per lawyer.

Solo firms see the biggest impact from this practice, collecting 71 percent more monthly revenue than those without payment plans.

Mid-size firms with payment plans collect 32 percent more monthly revenue.

Online Payment Effectiveness

Accepting online payments can also help you to bring more money into your firm. The 2023 Legal Trends Report shows that firms that offer online payment options get paid more than twice as fast as those that don’t.

This can mean not only more consistent payment, but more revenue for your firm.

Client Payment Patterns

In addition to offering online payment options, it’s critical that you accept credit card payments. The 2023 Legal Trends Report showed that almost half of clients prefer to pay by credit card

Only 20 percent of clients preferred to pay with a check, and fewer still preferred to pay with cash.

AI Usage Percentages

Since the launch of ChatGPT, artificial intelligence has become an enormous topic of conversation among law firms. AI can help your firm run more efficiently and effectively. 

But nearly 70 percent of law firms still aren’t using AI as part of their operations. 

A 2023 Legal Trends Report did show that more than half of law firms want to implement AI as part of their business strategy but haven’t yet. 

Some lawyers are hesitant to use AI because of reliability concerns. And it is important to always double-check what you get from AI tools; this software is very sophisticated, but it isn’t infallible. 

That said, AI is transforming the legal industry, and it’s a good idea to consider how you can use it to improve your operations.

Web-Based Software Solution Usage

Cloud computing has already transformed the legal space, and today, 70 percent of law firms report using web-based software solutions, according to The ABA Legal Technology Survey Report. 

These solutions can help your firm stay more agile and even allow you to work from anywhere – something that’s more important than ever after the pandemic.

Tech Budgeting Prevalence

With all these high-tech tools making their way into the legal space, it follows that law firms would need to start accounting for technology expenses in their budget. And The ABA Legal Technology Survey Report shows that 64 percent of firms are doing exactly that. 

This number has already risen in the last four years, and we can expect to see the number of firms budgeting for technology continuing to grow in the coming years.

So how effective is all that software you’re paying for?

Solo practitioners who use legal practice management software are 62 percent more likely to be happy with their client relationships than those who don’t. They are also 24 percent more likely to report being happy with their professional life.

Legal practice management software can even help improve mental well-being. Solo practitioners using these tools were 21 percent more likely to be satisfied with their mental and emotional wellness. 

Court System Opinions

The impact of technology on the legal field doesn’t stop with law firms. A staggering 89 percent of lawyers believe the court system could be improved with better access to technology.

In particular, moving court files and case management to digital systems can improve efficiency and make the system more affordable. This makes justice more accessible for people of any economic status.

Knowing the latest statistics from the legal field can help you make better decisions for your firm. 

It’s a good idea to stay up to date on how much clients prefer to handle payments, how technology is being used, and more. And if you’re still considering a career in law, knowing how much you can expect to be paid is crucial.

If you’re looking for more ways to improve your law firm, LawRank wants to help. We provide legal marketing that works, including SEO, PPC, web design, and more. 

Contact us today and start getting honesty, transparency, and results from your legal marketing firm.