Aspiring lawyers would find questions of these nature most troubling. Why? It’s because the idea of someone going into a profession that’s already overflowing with human resource would appear both foolhardy and kamikaze. This is especially so if the profession offers very little in terms of job prospect. The talk of so many lawyers being out of jobs these days is hardly major news. The legal market is a little saturated at the moment as pointed out in our earlier article on why a law degree is still a bargain today. But are these reports a reflection of the over population of lawyers in the world. Current statistics would suggest otherwise. In the United States for example with a population hovering around 322 million people, according to the American Bar Association, at the end of 2015, there were about 1,300, 705 million lawyers.
In India, the second largest country in the world by 1.333 billion people, the Bar Council of India states at its website that there are about 1.2 million lawyers in India. The statistics of lawyers in Nigeria are not available at the moment. Everybody will need a lawyer at one time or the other since people will still have “misunderstandings” that would take them to court, will still enter into contractual relationships, buy houses needing deeds, I could go on. All these will require the involvement of lawyers. So going by the ratio of lawyers to the general population (which are the lawyer’s potential clients) in America, that is 240,000 persons to 1 lawyer. In India, the lawyer to client ratio would be at 1.108 million clients to 1 lawyer. I doubt any single living lawyer could handle that many clients in a day and still breathe air. If we do take the ratio of lawyers to the general population in other countries, they will hardly differ that much from our calculations here. So the reports of there being too many lawyers in the world is not as grim as people would have us think going by our statistics. But one thing however stands out. The reason the legal job market is saturated today is because the current economic harmattan wind blowing the economies of the world has certainly scorched available jobs as money has become a little scarce, with people becoming more minimalist in footing the cost of the lawyers legal fees. That is exactly why the concepts of unbounding between lawyer-client relationships is in the ascendancy today. Lastly the idea that “there are too many lawyers in the world” may only hold ground because there are too many lawyers vying for limited positions at well-paying law firms and not necessarily the result of a glut of lawyers the world over.
Patrick Herbert is the Editor-in-Chief and founder of Law Student Hub. He is an LL.B. Law graduate from the University of Benin, Nigeria. He’s a life enthusiast, a budding writer and internet entrepreneur. Patrick is deeply passionate about law and research and has inspired many with his thought-provoking articles. To get in touch, follow him on social media.