LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — An excess number of attorneys working in California could mean lower legal fees for consumers – at least for now.
KNX 1070’s Ed Mertz reports a combination of a high number of law school graduates and fewer jobs has left many lawyers looking for work.
“There’s no question that we have an over-supply, or as some people will say, a glut of attorneys,” said Joe Dunn, CEO of the State Bar of California.
Dunn said combining factors of slow economic growth and emerging technology that provides “a la carte” legal advice has forced Loyola Law School near downtown Los Angeles and other universities to accept fewer law students.
Loyola has seen a 5 percent drop in the number of applicants from last year, and enrolled 360 students, about 15 percent less than the school’s average number of incoming students over the last decade, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Over half of all law schools nationwide have reduced their enrollment numbers, according to a Kaplan survey cited by the Times.
But fewer lawyers on the market has done little to slow demand for traditional legal services, which Dunn said will only serve to benefit consumers, allowing clients to negotiate lower hourly rates.
“No question, over the past four years those rates have gone down,” he said.
Dunn predicted that over the next four to five years, the retirements of “baby boomer” attorneys will eventually move the number of lawyers back from “an over-supply to a shortage.”