by Jon Guze
Senior Fellow, Legal Studies, John Locke Foundation
Hawaiin lawyer Dennis Potts has posted an interactive map showing how the ratio of registered lawyers to residents varies from state to state. Despite the fact that I’m a lawyer myself (or maybe because of it) I’m delighted that, with 23 lawyers per 10,000 residents, North Carolina is one of the least attorney-ridden states in the country. According to Potts’s analysis, only South Carolina, North Dakota, and Idaho have lower ratios: 21, 22, and 22 lawyers per 10,000 residents respectively.
The five states with the most lawyers per 10,000 residents are New York (89), Mississippi (83), Massachusetts (63), Connecticut (60), and Illinois (49), each of which is more than twice as densely packed as we are. However, the highest concentration by far occurs in the District of Columbia, which suffers under the almost unbelievable burden of 784 lawyers per 10,000 residents. That means one out of every 13 DC residents is a lawyer. Some of my best friends are lawyers, but good grief!