This is a guest post from 2Civility, the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism’s communication channel. “2” because they foster transformation. “Civility” because it’s the moral code that binds society together, and as the legal profession, encouraging a productive exchange of perspectives and rejecting disrespect for individuals or classes of people.
You use the internet to find the closest pizza place that delivers, to read reviews of the handyman you just hired, and to compare prices of the different running shoes you’re thinking about buying- so why not use it to find a lawyer?
The fact is, that’s how most people find their lawyers today, and the data regarding internet searches for lawyers gives us a peek into what types of lawyers different areas of the country are searching for, as well as which regions have the most or least lawyers. According to the American Bar Association, the number of lawyers increased by 200% from the mid-1970s to 2011; however, at the same time, the U.S. population only grew by 45%.
That’s not to say that lawyers are evenly distributed across different areas of the law or different areas of the country- far from it. The District of Columbia has by far the highest ratio of lawyers, with 788.1 lawyers per 10,000 people in the district. New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Illinois also have significant amounts of lawyers in their states, and the growth of lawyers is far outpacing the demand. For example, in New York in 2009, nearly 10,000 people passed the bar; however, analysts expected that New York would only need 2,100 new lawyers each year through 2015.
On the other side of the spectrum, rural areas across the country are desperately lacking lawyers. Arkansas has 20.1 lawyers per 10,000 residents spread out across the state, and last year, the Jonesboro Sun reported that three fulltime public defenders in Craighead County are handling nearly 600 cases among them. The Dakotas, the Carolinas, and Idaho also have a lack of lawyer and/or only have a sufficient amount of lawyers near metropolitan areas.
Finally, the data also shows us what types of lawyers each state searches for most. Family lawyers are needed throughout the country for cases involving divorce, and bankruptcy is the most-searched term for lawyers in nine states.
The Internet can help us find virtually anything we need, and lawyers are no exception. That should seemingly be the case especially since there’s an overabundance of lawyers in the country; however, if you live in a rural area without a lawyer who’s knowledgeable in the area you need, even the Internet can’t help you. In the future, look for states to remedy this problem by offering incentives to lawyers to live and work in rural areas.
Search: Lawyer Near Me – An infographic by the team at 2Civility
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I think that one of the best ways to find local lawyers is to ask friends and family. That way, you can get a first hand experience on how the exchange went and if they are the right fit for you. Also looking online shows promise. Be sure to meet with them in person before you hire them so that you know if you like them or not.
That’s interesting that the number of lawyers increased by 200% from the mid-1970s to 2011. I guess the training to be a lawyer is more accessible. I’ve been having an issue with a contractor I’m working with on my house; maybe I should get a lawyer.