Paul L. Caron

Monday, May 11, 2020

Lawyers Reached New Highs In Wages And Employment Pre-COVID19

Stephen Diamond (Santa Clara), Lawyers Reached New Highs in Wages and Employment Pre-COVID19:

Proving once again that there are booms and busts in the economy, American lawyers in general, and Silicon Valley lawyers in particular, made gains in employment and income as of May 2019 according to data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The data is the result of surveys conducted by the BLS every six months, and is considered the closest thing we have to hard data about occupational levels and income. ...

As of May, 2018, across the United States there were 642,750 people employed as lawyers (these numbers do not include partners, only lawyers who qualify as “employees,” so there is some undercounting as well as a reduction in the income that actually accrues to lawyers). That number rose to 657,170, a modest 2.2% increase over the prior May but on par with that year’s increase. In other words, steady if slow growth at the national level. ...

Earnings for lawyers are up, too.

Nationally, the median annual wage as of May 2019 (May 2018) was $122,960 ($120,910) and the mean was $145,300 ($144,230). This is slightly behind the rate of inflation (1.7% v. 1.8%).

Here in the Valley, the numbers were more impressive. Again, the San Jose/Palo Alto region led the nation with the highest mean wage: $218,420 (2018: $207,950). This represents a 5% increase from the prior year, well ahead of inflation and following a nearly indentical increase the prior year. So, over three annual reporting periods Silicon Valley lawyers have seen incomes rise by more than 10%. Of course the cost of living here is higher than in most of the country: it rose year over year about 3% in nearby and similar San Francisco.

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