It's possible that our nation only needs **16,245** new JDs per year, or at most **19,000** In that case, the law schools are pumping out **177%** or **137%** more JDs each year than we need.

If the law schools are producing 45,000 new lawyers per year, what is the rate of lawyer overproduction? Earlier I pointed out that BLS stats show that only about 759,200 people are employed as attorneys. Of course, that stat does not tell us how many have worthwhile jobs; many could be starving solos, low-paid document reviewers, or working low-paid part-time gigs.

Let's assume that the number 759,200 represents only 90% of "happily employed attorneys" with the other 10% having happily found jobs outside of the legal profession that pay $75,000 or more per year. In that case, over a 40 year period of time, we need about 843,555 attorneys. Now let's assume that 15% of those 759,200 people who are counted as "employed" attorneys are working in crappy jobs such as sporadic, low-paid temporary document review, low-paid part-time work, and struggling solos.

(759,200 / 90%) - (15% x 759,200) = 843,555 - 113,880 = 729,675.

We're about where we started. For the sake of argument, let's just say that our nation's economy can happily employ 759,200 attorneys. Besides, even if you are "happily employed outside of the legal profession" in all likelihood your job doesn't require or make much use of your legal education, in which case it was a waste of time and money.

**At a rate of 45,000 new lawyers per year, how long will it take to replenish the 759,200 lawyers that our nation's economy actually needs or at least can employ with appropriate compensation? **

759,200 divided by 45,000 = 16.87 years.

Assuming that a lawyer would want to work for 40 years, we are producing:

40 divided by 16.87 = 2.37 new JDs for every lawyer job available.

This means that **our nations law schools are producing an excess of 137% more lawyers every year than what our nation needs, or almost two-and-a-half times more new lawyers than we need.** Conversely, our nation only needs about **19,000** new attorneys per year (45,000 divided by 2.37 = just under 19,000).

Assuming that our nation's population is 310 million, ideally we only need one lawyer for every 408 people. Previously, I calculated that our nation has about one attorney for every 172 people. Dividing 408 by 172 gives us 2.37. This isn't profound; it just shows that my calculations are internally consistent since the number of 172 can also be obtained by dividing 310 million by 45,000 x 40.

**For shits and giggles, let's discount attorneys who are "happily employed outside of the legal profession" and regard them as having suffered a loss of 3 years worth of time and law school costs.** In other words, let's just consider how many lawyers our nation really needs and can employ at compensation at least commensurate to the cost of becoming a lawyer. If 85% of the 759,200 counted as employed by the BLS meet that criteria, then our nation's economy can support:

759,200 x 85% = 645,320 attorneys.

645,320 divided by 45,000 = 14.34 years.

Assuming that a lawyer would want to work for 40 years, we are producing:

40 divided by 14.43 = 2.77 new JDs for every lawyer job available.

This means that **our nations law schools are producing an excess of 177% more lawyers every year than what our nation can employ as lawyers at a rate of pay commensurate to their educational investment, or almost two-and-three quarters times more new lawyers than we need.** Conversely, our nation only needs about **16,245** new attorneys per year (45,000 divided by 2.77 = just under 16,245).