The Market for Lawyers Revisited

49 Pages Posted: 27 Apr 2015

See all articles by Stephen J. Spurr

Stephen J. Spurr

Wayne State University - Department of Economics

Date Written: January 10, 2015


This paper examines the changes in the market for lawyers in the United States over several decades. Reviewing data from 1981 through 2012, we find that the quality of entrants to this market, as measured by the rate of attrition from law schools and mean scores on the Multistate Bar Exam, is highly responsive to the demand for legal services. Analyzing earnings of lawyers, we find that females earn substantially less than males, Blacks earn less than those of other ethnic backgrounds, and the disparity increases over the life cycle. There is also evidence that because of the decline of entrants to the profession, the share of older lawyers has increased, reducing the premium paid for experience. Finally, we examine the trend in inequality in lawyers' earnings, and find that it has increased substantially over the period of our data.

Keywords: earnings, inequality, Gini coefficient

JEL Classification: J21, J31, J44

Suggested Citation

Spurr, Stephen J., The Market for Lawyers Revisited (January 10, 2015). Available at SSRN: or

Stephen J. Spurr (Contact Author)

Wayne State University - Department of Economics ( email )

656 W. Kirby
2115 FAB
Detroit, MI 48202
United States
(313) 577-3232 (Phone)

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics