Inhabitants per lawyer in Europe

Overpopulation of lawyers in Greece and rest of Europe: myths vs reality

Author: Athanasios Rozou
Published: 17/02/2016

As the economic crisis in Greece deepens, also affecting, among other professional groups, the lawyers, there are increasing voices, which put the blame for this situation on their particularly high number in relation to the general population. The proponents of this view mostly request for the tightening of criteria for the granting of license to practice the legal profession, and the conditions of its conservation. At the same time, speculations are intensifying that Greece has the most lawyers in the world, that in all the other countries lawyers are much fewer and hence better paid, as the prices of services are maintained at high levels due to reduced competition.

The number of lawyers per country is recorded annually at European level by the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE), which is the representative body of about one (1) million lawyers, through bar associations - members, from thirty one (31) full member-states and eleven (11) partner countries and observers. The full Council members are grouped into national delegations, each of which comprises a maximum of six (6) persons. The Delegation of Greece also participates in the Council. Greek Presidents of CCBE were Messrs. Evangelos Tsouroulis in 2013, Sotirios Felios in 1999 and Nicholas Koutroumpis in 1989.

The table with the comparative figures of Lawyers in European countries for 2015 was published by the Council on 01.06.2015 and for Greece includes ONLY the number of the Athens Bar Association members, which amounted to 21,439 on 16/03/2015. Our country is only one, for which the table shows the number of members of a single bar association in contrast to the others, that the figures relate to lawyers of their entire territory. Also, no mention is made in some countries, for which however the same data can be exported from corresponding tables of previous years. Moreover, there is no column with the general population per country in order to reach a conclusion about the number of lawyers per capita.

I inserted data in the following table from the tables of the CCBE of the years 2013, 2014 and 2015, as well as from Wikipedia, which relate to the general population by country for the year 2015 according to Eurostat, in order to extract the capita per lawyer in the last column. The number of lawyers in the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Latvia was introduced from the corresponding table of the year 2014 and for Malta, Luxembourg, Serbia, Moldova, Armenia and Bosnia and Herzegovina from the list of the year 2013 due to lack of data for these countries in the 2015 tables. The number of lawyers in Greece (42,500) was inserted in approximation, since in the year 2013 it amounted, according to the findings of the Committee for the preparation of the Bill "Lawyers’ Code" in 42,113. At the same time, I thought that it was interesting to insert for comparison, also some US states, for which I received the number of lawyers in 2015 by the American Bar Association and the general population for the same year from Wikipedia. Also, in some fields the number of women lawyers is also indicated, which is included in the total number of lawyers of each country.

Α/Α
Country / State Lawyers (Total) Lawyers (Women) General Polulation Capita per lawyer
1
New York U.S.A.
172.630
 
19.795.791
115
Liechtenstein
210
27
37.000
176 
California U.S.A.
165.952
 
39.144.818 
236 
Italy
246.786
115.494
60.795.612 
246 
Maryland U.S.A.
23.902
 
6.006.401 
251 
Greece
42.500
 
10.812.467 
254 
Florida U.S.A.
42.258
 
20.271.272 
273 
Cyprus
2.994
1.505 
847.008 
283 
Luxembourg
1.957
884 
562.958 
288 
10 
Washington U.S.A.
24.844
 
7.170.351 
289 
11 
Spain
151.096
105.580 
46.439.864 
307 
12 
Island
1.057
319 
331.000 
313 
13 
Texas U.S.A.
86.494
 
27.469.114 
318 
14 
U.K.
188.263
 
64.767.115 
344 
15 
Portugal
29.240
15.607 
10.374.822 
355 
16 
Germany
163.960
54.139 
81.459.000 
498 
17 
Bulgaria
12.629
 
7.202.198 
570 
18 
Malta
767
259 
445.426 
581 
19 
Belgium
18.174
 
11.258.434 
619 
20 
Norway
7.450
2.290 
5.194.000 
697 
21 
Hungary
12.512
5.490 
9.849.000 
787 
22 
Romania
23.784
 
19.861.408 
835 
23 
Serbia
8.120
2.832 
7.114.393 
876 
24 
Czech Republic
12.015
4.228 
10.538.275 
877 
25 
Turkey
86.981
35.216 
78.214.000 
899 
26 
Croatia
4.483
1.917 
4.225.316 
943 
27 
Denmark
5.989
1.914 
5.707.251 
953 
28 
Holland
17.486
7.533 
16.989.600 
972 
29 
Poland
36.582
19.313 
38.005.614 
1.039 
30 
Slovakia
5.114
1.989 
5.421.349 
1.060 
31 
France
60.223
32.531 
66.352.469 
1.102 
32 
Slovenia
1.611
711 
2.062.874 
1.280 
33 
Esthonia
947
424 
1.313.271 
1.387 
34 
Lithuania
2.074
796 
2.921.262 
1.409 
35 
Austria
5.940
1.210 
8.584.926 
1.445 
36 
Letonia
1.338
659 
1.971.300 
1.473 
37 
Sweden
5.618
1.611 
9.747.355 
1.735 
38 
Moldavia
1.750
500 
3.555.200 
2.032 
39 
Ireland
2.243
880 
4.625.885 
2.062 
40 
Armenia
1.149
451 
2.998.600 
2.601 
41 
Finland
2.048
589 
5.471.753 
2.672 
42 
Bosnia & Herzegovina
885
238 
3.791.622 
4.284 

The above table shows that Greece is the third largest European country with the fewest inhabitants per lawyer after Liechtenstein and Italy with a correlation of 254 inhabitants per lawyer. The European country with fewest inhabitants per lawyer is Liechtenstein with 176 and with the most is Bosnia & Herzegovina with 4,284 inhabitants per lawyer. The first place in the list is held by New York, USA with just 115 inhabitants per lawyer. Particularly interesting according to the statistics of the American Bar Association is the fact that from 2005 to 2015 the total population of New York State lawyers increased by 21.1%, while in several states the increase was even greater, as in Florida by 53.3% (from 48,453 in 2005 to 74,258 in 2015) and in Texas by 24.6% (from 69,405 in 2005 to 86,494 in 2015). Impressive is also the very small number of women in relation to all the lawyers in Sweden (only 1611 in a total of 5,618), and the large percentage of women lawyers of Spain (105 580 women lawyers in a total 151,096 lawyers).

Relevant Files

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