ABA Profile of the Legal Profession 2020

Document Type

Issue/Research Brief/Blog

Publication Date



lawyer demographics, race and ethnicity, gender, law students, financial status and behavior


The nation and the legal profession are rapidly changing. The pandemic and recession have resulted in layoffs, furloughs and pay cuts. In this atmosphere, we set out to compile the latest statistics in the legal profession – knowing they may be quite different a year from now.

This is a snapshot of the profession at a fragile moment: July 2020. It includes numbers and trends on demographics, law schools, the judiciary, technology, pro bono work, attorney discipline, lawyer well-being and more.

Two new sections were created specifically for the 2020 Profile:

  • A statistical look at legal deserts – areas with few lawyers – including the number of lawyers in every U.S. county and maps that show where lawyers are and aren’t.
  • A survey, co-sponsored by the ABA Young Lawyer Division, that measures how law school debt is affecting everyday life for young lawyers.

This second annual Profile was produced by the ABA Media Relations and Strategic Communications Division. Our goal is to provide authoritative data for lawyers, academics and journalists. Statistics are from authoritative sources within the ABA, the federal government and nonprofit groups.