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The Legislature

By Kari Santos | Dec. 2, 2014

News

Law Office Management

Dec. 2, 2014

The Legislature

The share of attorneys elected in California has dropped dramatically

Legislatures nationwide have been losing lawyers steadily for decades. The drop in the share of attorneys elected in California has been among the most dramatic:
1969: 61%
1999: 34%

November's election continued the trend.
Before: 19.5%
After: 17.6%

Yet California lawmakers were more likely than those in any other state to hold university degrees, according to a 2011 survey:
Bachelor's degree: 90% (national average 75%)
Graduate degree: 48% (national average 41%)

And law is the third most common professional field among California state legislators taking office next month, behind management and politics.*
Management: 34
Politics: 25
Law: 20
Education: 17
Other: 23

California has the nation's highest share of legislators who've made a career of making laws, at 80 percent. In most states, the figure is below 50 percent.
Number of states where less than 10 percent of legislators listed lawmaking as their full-time job (in 2007): 30

California legislators earn more than those in any other state (the national average in 2014 was about $28,620, plus daily expense allowances of $0 to $234). And they represent more people.
California legislators' salary: $95,291 plus expenses
Residents represented by each Assembly Member: 475,000
Residents represented by each state Senator: 950,000

* Management includes business, nonprofit, and agriculture. The count totals 119 because one seat is vacant.
Sources: National Council of State Legislatures; California Assembly member staff; California Senate staff; 2014 election results.
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Kari Santos

Daily Journal Staff Writer

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