Now that the Florida Bar’s doomed trip down the reciprocity river is over, it’s time we get serious about other issues impacting the practice of law in Florida.
I propose that we take several affirmative steps to both reduce the number of lawyers in this state and to improve the quality of them. Let’s start with basic math. Florida — with a population of 20.2 million people — has about 103,000 licensed attorneys. (Of that, only 84,000 are active members eligible to practice law, and of the active members about 86 percent live in Florida). This is a resident-to-active-lawyer ratio of 240 to 1. California has a ratio of 209 to 1. New York has a ratio of 116 to 1. (New York does not have “inactive” or “ineligible” status like Florida and California, thus the New York ratio is likely closer to 150 to 1.) Texas has a ratio of about 278 to 1. Despite being awash with lawyers, Florida actually has far fewer lawyers per capita than New York and California.
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