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A Snapshot of State Bar Membership

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A SNAPSHOT OF STATE BAR MEMBERSHIP
BY VICTORIA SPRINGER, M.A., VERONICA BLAS DAHIR, PH.D & KATHLEEN J. ENGLAND, J.D.
Who are we? That’s the question that the State Bar of Nevada’s (SBN) Board of
Governors set out to answer more than a year ago, with the goal of getting an accurate, current and comprehensive look at our population of more than 10,000 members. This overview provides a brief glimpse into the answers they uncovered.
Project History
At the August 2009 meeting, the Board of Governors concluded that knowing more about SBN members would be useful in developing and implementing programs and services. SBN eventually contracted the Center for Research Design and Analysis (CRDA) out of the University of Nevada, Reno, to augment and analyze SBN’s existing member database with data from other sources. After months of hard work, the CRDA and SBN team presented its report to the Board of Governors at the August 2010 meeting in Elko. This article represents only segments of that comprehensive summary, but provides a snapshot of the Nevada legal community as of June 30, 2010.
SBN Membership Categories
The average age of SBN’s active members is 45.9 years, ranging from 24 to 96. Men account for 70 percent of active members; women represent 30 percent. Most active SBN members practice in Clark County (71 percent), followed by Washoe County (20 percent), Carson City (5 percent), Douglas County (1 percent) and Elko (1 percent). The remaining counties in which active members practice each account for less than 1 percent of the membership.
Age Distribution of Active SBN Members
Overall
SBN has a number of membership categories: 77 percent, the largest, consisting of 7,940 active members, fully admitted and current. Another 1,734 members are inactive (17 percent) and an additional 105 members (1 percent) are considered special admissions, generally by virtue of their employment. 579 members, comprising 6 percent of the total number of overall “members,” are currently suspended from practice.
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Nevada Lawyer
October 2010
Distribution of Active SBN Members by County
years of practice in Nevada, while averaging 20 years practicing overall. For the 67 percent (148) of active members in the northern rural region for whom data was available, it was determined that the majority (66 percent, 98) are in private practice, while the rest (34 percent, 50) are in public practice.
Washoe County – The 1,243 active Washoe County
Southern Rural – The southern rural region, with 45 active members, includes Lincoln, Mineral, Nye and White Pine counties. Average age of active members: 47.1 years, ranging from 27 to 77. Most of these active members are male (84 percent); less than one-fourth are female (16 percent). Average number of years in practice in Nevada: 13.9 years, with an average of 14.7 years practicing law since first admission to any bar. Practice setting data was available for only 47 percent (21); of those, 67 percent are in public practice (14), while the remaining 33 percent (7) are in private practice.
members are located in Reno, Sparks, Incline Village, Lake Tahoe, Verdi, Spanish Springs and Crystal Bay. Their average age is 50.7 years, ranging from 26 to 69. While 72 percent are male, 28 percent are female. The average number of years practicing law in Nevada is 19.4 years; the average number of years practicing law since their first admission to any bar is 20.5 years. Data was available for 87 percent of Washoe County active members: 78 percent of those are in private practice (847 members), while 21 percent (220) are in public practice, with 1 percent (9) disclosing they are retired.
Carson City – Of the 294 active lawyers listing Carson City as their address, the average age is 49.3 years, ranging from 25 to 87. Their average number of years practicing law in Nevada is 17.2 years, with an average of 18.2 years since their earliest admission to any bar. Of these members, 62 percent are male and 38 percent are female. For the 76 percent (224) on whom data was available, the majority of active Carson City members are in public practice (54 percent, 121), while the rest are in private practice (45 percent, 101), or retired (1 percent, 2). Clark County – The 4,554 active Clark County members are located in Las Vegas, Henderson, North Las Vegas, Boulder City, Mesquite, Logandale, Laughlin, Coyote Springs, Moapa and Nellis Air Force Base. Their average age: 44.4 years, ranging from 24 to 96. Males comprise 69 percent of active members, while 31 percent are female. Their average years in practice in Nevada: 12.4 years, while overall they have been practicing for an average of 14.1 years. For the 75 percent (3,459) of active members in Clark County for whom data was available, the majority of these active members are in private practice (80 percent, 2,779) and 20 percent (680) are in public practice. Northern Rural – The northern rural region, with 221 active members, consists of Churchill, Douglas, Elko, Eureka, Humboldt, Lander, Lyon, Pershing and Storey counties. Their average age: 51.2 years, ranging from 26 to 86. While 75 percent of these members are male, only 25 percent are female. They averaged 18.9
This report is the first effort to comprehensively collect and analyze SBN membership data and has led to a number of recommendations for facilitating collection of additional membership information. SBN’s annual billing forms are undergoing a revision and future versions will ask members to voluntarily provide the information which was arduously collected from other sources (such as public v. private practice, employer or job position, firm size (small, medium or large) or solo practice setting, etc.) for use in this report. You can find the entire Demographics Report on the SBN website, at www.nvbar.org.
Conclusion
We would like to acknowledge the contributions of Marc Mersol, SBN Controller, for his technical help with the data gathering and the report, as well as the other workgroup members, Larry Digesti and Bruce Hahn. Big thanks are due to Kimberly Farmer, SBN Executive Director, and especially to Luz Munoz of the Nevada Legal Directory and Chris Cendagorta, Executive Director, Washoe County Bar Association, for providing the database information from their organizations in order to make this project possible. Finally, thanks to Adrienne Leipold, CRDA’s Administrative Assistant, who helped with gathering additional data for the larger SBN Demographics Report.
VICTORIA SPRINGER, M.A. is a graduate student in the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Program in social psychology and a graduate research assistant at CRDA, University of Nevada, Reno. VERONICA B. DAHIR, PH.D. is currently CRDA’s Senior Survey Manager of Survey Services. Dahir directly oversees all survey-related projects and personnel for not only the University of Nevada, Reno, but also for state and nationwide organizations. KATHLEEN J. ENGLAND, J.D. is the immediate past president of the State Bar of Nevada. England chairs the state bar’s Demographics Workgroup. October 2010 Nevada Lawyer 27

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