As I told you in this post , I was interviewed in August on the issue of managing the lawyer's working time for the magazine Profession Avocat that I just received.
An article in the magazine titled "Too Many, Lawyers", which is a summary of the latest report from the NBC Foresight Committee, caught my eye.
I had already mentioned the subject a little bit in my post on statistics on the profession . I remind you of the initial observation: the number of lawyers is constantly increasing at both national and local level. In twenty years, the number has doubled and the total number of lawyers is now close to 45,000, including 21,000 in Paris.
Since the beginning of the new millennium, the number of French lawyers has grown by about 1,500 individuals per year, with an average of only 650 for the Paris Bar.
Thus, given these figures, a large part of the profession believes that the number of lawyers is already too important in France, which would explain the economic difficulties of some and the engorgement at the level of entry into the profession.
Remember that some young colleagues do not find a collaboration at the exit of the EFB or the CRFPA for several months or even a few years and fall back in spite to other legal professions.
Even if this is true, it should not be forgotten that nearly 50% of young confreres leave the past profession for the first two years of collaboration because of its intense pace and the amount of social contributions, some of which are overwhelming.
We must also take into account the aging phenomenon of the French population, which also affects lawyers.
The magazine article states that there are currently about 300 annual retirements while this figure will rise to 1000 per year in 2010, not to mention the natural increase in the number of positions to be filled in the area.
However, the report of the NBC notes a clear decrease in the attractiveness of the legal profession, a phenomenon that affects all independent professions and especially liberal in recent years. 80% of those surveyed 30 years ago wanted to enter an independent occupation compared to 15% today, with respondents favoring job security and stable pay.
This decrease of attractiveness is revealed mainly in the number of student-lawyers integrating each year the CRFPA and the EFB of Paris. While the figures for the latter are constantly increasing each year, this is not the case for some regional CRFPAs, where staff numbers are sometimes decreasing.
The problem, as stated in the magazine article, lies in the void left by the lawyers who left and will not be immediately filled by new confreres. At the expense of the legal profession and especially in the area of business consulting, the void left may be occupied by consulting companies or other liberal professions.
This is already the case in the field of business law, which is dominated by accountants, sometimes with disastrous consequences for their client companies (I speak about it in an informed way in the field of labor law).
To end on an optimistic note, the difficulty lies above all, in my opinion, above all in the lack of knowledge of student-lawyers of the reality of the job market of the profession and the prospects for evolution. Indeed, for them, no salvation except the business lawyer at the UJA tariff (3150 € HT the first year), the fear being to "finish" in a small provincial lawyer, equivalent SMIC even RMI.
However, in this profession, it is better to start low to develop slowly but surely by preferring perseverance and the long term than to start "high", stagnate and end up abandoning the profession out of weariness.
This kind of behavior will not improve the future of the profession …