Ride the Lightning

Cybersecurity and Future of Law Practice Blog
by Sharon D. Nelson Esq., President of Sensei Enterprises, Inc.

2021 ABA Profile of the Legal Profession Released

August 4, 2021

On July 29, the ABA released the 2021 ABA Profile of the Legal Profession.

summary of the report by the ABA Journal indicates that COVID caused one-third of older lawyers to alter their retirement plans. 53% said the pandemic caused them to delay their retirement and 47% said the pandemic spurred them to hasten their retirement. 36% said they made less money during the pandemic and only 18% made more money.

The findings are from a survey of more than 4,000 ABA members last fall and a follow-up survey of nearly 1,400 senior lawyers in March.

The third annual report, produced by the ABA Media Relations and Strategic Communications Division, defines senior lawyers as those 62 or older.

Most senior lawyers reported adapting well to incorporating new technology into their practices amid the pandemic. Of the 73% who reported needing to learn new technology to keep working or to interact with others, 79% said they were “somewhat comfortable” or “extremely comfortable” with that technology.

52% of women lawyers and 48% of lawyers of color reported feeling work stress during the pandemic, while 40% of all attorneys said they felt stress about work. Perhaps not surprising. Female lawyers were nearly three times as likely than men to take on additional child care responsibilities during the pandemic (14% versus 5%).

Other statistics from the report:

  • There were slightly more than 1.3 million active lawyers in the United States as of January 1, 2021.
  • More than one-fourth of U.S. lawyers are in two states: New York (185,076) and California (167,709).
  • One of every seven lawyers is a person of color. Slightly more than one-third of all lawyers (37%) are women. Both rates are about the same as last year.
  • There are more than 114,000 law school students in the U.S. — the highest number since 2014. A majority (54%) of those students are women.
  • For the 10th consecutive year, the number of men attending law school declined. But for the fourth consecutive year, the number of women attending law school rose.

How the pandemic impacted retirement decisions is an ongoing topic of conversation among older lawyers. Anecdotally, the stats the ABA came up with very closely align with the number of lawyers we know that have accelerated or delayed their retirement.

Sharon D. Nelson, Esq., PresidentSensei Enterprises, Inc.
3975 University Drive, Suite 225|Fairfax, VA 22030
Email:  Phone: 703-359-0700
Digital Forensics/Cybersecurity/Information Technology