ABA 'Profile of the Legal Profession' highlights changing federal judiciary

The American Bar Association released its fourth annual Profile of the Legal Profession on July 28, with a new chapter on the changing face of the federal judiciary.

The 2022 ABA Profile of the Legal Profession is a free, 130-page compilation of statistics and trends about lawyers, judges and law students, gathered from within the ABA and from courts, the federal government and nonprofit organizations. The report includes sections on demographics, wages, law schools and law students, judges, pro bono work, women in the profession, legal technology, lawyer well-being and lawyer discipline.

Among the statistics on the federal judiciary in the 2022 Profile of the Legal Profession:

There are 59 Black women among the 1,409 sitting Article III federal judges across the country. That’s 4% of all federal judges. All but 11 are in the trial courts. Fifty-two were appointed by Democratic presidents.

The federal bench is still largely white and male. Seventy percent of all sitting Article III federal judges are male; 78% are white and not Hispanic.

President Joe Biden has appointed 68 judges. Only three are white men. Three-quarters (76%) are women. Nearly two-thirds (65%) are lawyers of color.

Some federal courts still largely lack diversity. For example, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals has 18 judges, but only one is female. Tennessee has 23 federal trial judges, but only three are female. Sixteen states have no federal trial judges of color. There are 104 federal trial judges in those states.

Among the many other facts in the report:

• There are 1.3 million lawyers in the United States. One-fourth are in two states (New York and California). One in five is a lawyer of color. More than a third (37%) are women.

• South Carolina has the fewest lawyers per capita: 2.1 lawyers for every 1,000 residents, or roughly half the national average.

• For the 28th consecutive year, the percentage of law firm partners who are lawyers of color rose in 2021.

• Five percent of law firm partners identify as LGBTQ.

• Lawyers are, on average, older than the general working population.

• For the 11th year in a row, the number of men attending law school declined; for the fifth year in a row, the number of women attending law school rose.

• Half of all law school graduates in 2021 got jobs at law firms, and that percentage is growing.

• Eighty percent of lawyers use iPhones for work. Only 19% use Android phones.

The complete ABA 2022 Profile of the Legal Profession is available at ambar.org/profile. For more information, email marc.davis@americanbar.org.


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