From Lawyers, Guns & Money, two charts that are pretty sobering for around 40% of the lawyers in America (and half the lawyers in private practice in America):

Inflation-Adjusted Earnings of Solos

Earnings-of-solo-practitioners

Solo Earnings Compared to Average American Salaries

percent-of-average-salary

Solos v. Partners

This one is an unsourced chart I found on Reddit:

q9XXkid

Meanwhile, let’s not forget that law school just keeps getting more expensive. It’s tempting to attribute the drops in these charts to the flood of new lawyers, but according to Paul Campos in the comments on LG&M, that’s not the case:

Another thing that’s striking about these income numbers is that they include almost no new graduates. Over the past five years less than 1,000 graduates per year have listed themselves as solos nine months after graduation, so new and recent graduates make up a trivial percentage of the 350,000 or so lawyers who are running solo practices. In other words, these income numbers are for experienced lawyers.

What do you make of these charts? Would you still advise someone to go solo?