Apparently, the statistics are not entirely forthcoming on the internet. But according to The Economist, a study of 29 countries was conducted in 2006 that showed the USA only behind Greece in terms of per capita lawyers.
More recently, the American Lawyer reported that Israel has the most lawyers per capita, and India has the most lawyers total. Of course, the US isn't too far behind on either count.
I'm not sure where the information below came from, or if it is reliable, so take it with a grain of salt. (I think someone just looked up the population and lawyer count for a these 8 countries)
U.S.A.: There is one lawyer for every 265 Americans. Brazil follows closely with one lawyer for every 326 Brazilians.
Country Lawyers Population People/Lawyer
1) US: Lawyers: 1,143,358 Pop: 303MM P/L:265
2) Brazil: Lawyers: 571,360 Pop: 186MM P/L: 326
3) New Zealand: Lawyers: 10,523 Pop: 4MM P/L 391
4) Spain Lawyers:114,143 Pop: 45MM P/L:395
5) Italy Lawyers:121,380 Pop: 59MM P/L:488
6) UK Lawyers:151,043 Pop: 61MM P/L401
7) Germany Lawyers:138,679 Pop: 82MM P/L: 593
8) France Lawyers:45,686 Pop: 64MM P/L: 1,403
Among the 8 countries listed above, the US only has about 50% of the lawyers (37 percent of the total population). India alone has over 1 million lawyers (more than the USA). Therefore, the US does not even come close to having 70% of the world's population of lawyers. Myth busted.
But, with 2.2 million people in prisons, the US has a lawyer for every two inmates. Considering the ridiculous rate at which the United States incarcerates, that is saying something.
The lawyer number for the US comes from the ABA (active) for 2007. The lawyer number for Brazil comes from Brazilian's ABA equivalent OAB (active) for 2007. The population numbers were pulled on Jan 2nd 2008 from Wikipedia.
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