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Why Did the Number of Lawyers in Congress Plummet?
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Photo credit: Robert Linder/FreeImages

Summary: A study has found that the number of lawyers in Congress has dropped significantly.

A new research paper has shown that Congress has changed. It’s no longer dominated by lawyers. Instead, career politicians have taken over.


ABA Journal reports that Nick Robinson, a visiting lecturer at Yale Law School and a fellow at Harvard Law School’s Center on the Legal Profession, published findings that in 2015 Congress was made of less than 40 percent of lawyers. In the 1960s, the number was 60 percent, and in the mid-19th century, lawyers made up 80 percent.

The study says that this number is even more interesting because the percentage of lawyers in this country has gone up, both in overall numbers and percentage to the population.

Robinson concludes that the reason for the lawyer decline is that there are now political jobs such as campaign aids, think tank members and lobbyists, and those jobs provide their own way into a political office.

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Robinson says that most people with those political class jobs are not lawyers, and that the high pay of private practice keeps lawyers staying put in firms. Basically, commercialism lowered the lawyer count in Congress.

In the current Congress, the most represented law schools are Harvard, Georgetown, the University of Virginia and the University of Texas.

Source: ABA Journal

Photo credit: Robert Linder/FreeImages



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