Lawyer demographics in 1966

July 14, 2008 | By | Reply More

Have things changed since 1966? Those of us alive back then (I was ten in 1966) might need to think back before answering yes. Things must have changed since then, but in what ways? Let’s see . . . there were no personal computers. Color TV was a luxury. No astronaut had yet walked on the moon. People lived in much smaller houses closer to city centers.

I was at a courthouse in St. Clair County, Illinois, today when it hit home in another way. Take a look at this photo of the membership of the St. Clair Bar Association in 1966 (I took a photo of a big photo). Notice the total lack of women. Notice the almost total lack of any lawyers other than those who were Caucasian males.

St. Clair lawyers 1966

It is so incredibly different now. Now, approximately half of all law school students are women and more than ¼ of all practicing lawyers are women. Currently, about one law student in five is non-white.

I’m not trying to pick on St. Clair County. I’m certain that the demographics of lawyers were similar in many other places back in 1966. Back then, no matter where you lived, being a lawyer almost guaranteed that you were a white male.

I’m 52 now, yet 1966 doesn’t seem like a long time ago. By the time I entered law school in 1978, it was no longer unusual to see women and minorities in law school classes. Things have changed dramatically, but it wasn’t an obvious change while it happened. In the case of the demographics of lawyers, it is all for the better.

Incremental change can be statistically dramatic, yet invisible.


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Category: Bigotry, Law, Statistics

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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