The number of active Texas attorneys increased by 25 percent over the past 10 years, with those in practice more than 25 years and those older than 65 having the largest percentages in the lawyer population, according to a new report.
Released Jan. 5, the “State Bar of Texas Membership: Attorney Statistical Profile (2017-2018)” shows that the total number of attorneys grew from 81,601 in 2007 to 102,044 in 2017. The numbers include active in-state attorneys and State Bar members based outside Texas.
“The thing that always is striking is that the population over 65 or licensed over 25 years is growing significantly,” said Cory Squires, director of the State Bar’s research and analysis department.
As noted in the report, the total number of active attorneys older than 65 increased from 7,157 a decade ago to 16,997 in 2017 to make up 17 percent of the total attorney population. The number of those who have been practicing more than 25 years increased from 23,848, or 29 percent of the total attorney population in 2007, to 36,674, or 36 percent of all attorneys, in 2017.
State Bar President Tom Vick pointed out that lawyers younger than 40 continue to make up about one-third of the bar, but those over age 60 now make up 27 percent of the total membership, up from 17 percent in 2007.
“The lawyers my age almost universally don’t feel like they’re older, and they don’t feel like retiring,” said Vick, 62, a lawyer with Vick Carney in Weatherford.
Vick also noted that the bar is becoming more diverse. About 36 percent of the bar’s membership are female attorneys, compared with 31 percent a decade ago, he said. The bar reported that its membership now includes 36,397 women, compared with 25,490 in 2007.
Vick cited a 71 percent increase in the number of minority attorneys in Texas over the 10 years. As reported, Hispanic lawyers increased from 5,584, or 7 percent of the attorney population 10 years ago to 8,932, or 9 percent now. The number of black or African-American lawyers increased from 3,317, or 4 percent, in 2007 to 5,266, or 5 percent.
Vick said he is encouraged by the report’s findings.
“We have a long way to go, but the trends are going the right way,” he said.
Kevin Terrazas, president of the Hispanic Bar Association of Austin, said. “The Hispanic population continues to be under represented in our profession.”
Terrazas, owner of Cleveland Terrazas, said that Hispanics are making gains and are hopeful that law firms and others will take steps to assure that trend will continue.
“I think the bar and our interests are aligned,” Terrazas said.
Squires said attorneys self-report demographic data at the time they are licensed and are asked to update it when they pay their dues. Attorneys voluntarily report most of the information. The only information attorneys are required to report, Squires said, are the year they are licensed and their birth dates.