There are literally millions of lawyers in America and your going to have to bust your ass to be good enough to have someone pay you to be a lawyer.
To be perfectly honest, part of what inspired me to pursue this was my experiences shopping for a divorce attorney a few years back.
I had consultations with three of them. One of them was great. He's the one I wanted.
Another? The big name in town? A condescending shyster who was one of the most unprofessional rip-offs I've ever encountered in any business, anywhere. I actually hired him, first, and after over $1,000 in legal fees, all I had to show for it was a boilerplate child custody agreement.
The third? An attorney who, near as I can figure, probably billed about 10 hours a week. Thoroughly unimpressive.
However, the good attorney and the 3rd attorney both charged the same: $150 an hour. The big name charged $250. (And based on conversations with the other two, he had a reputation of taking a $6,000 divorce and turning it into a $25,000 divorce. He was a crook with admission to the bar. In another life, he'd have been selling snake-oil.)
Now, I've been around a while and seen a lot of different types of folks. The big-name guy? Without a law degree, he'd have been a car salesman and probably not a good one at that.
The 3rd attorney? Probably wouldn't have gotten anywhere in any profession and certainly didn't seem to be getting anywhere as an attorney.
The first guy? He found a good calling for himself. Knew what he was doing and appeared to be making a good living at it.
However, the $150,000 an hour rate? (Let alone the $250,000 an hour rate...) If you could bill 1,500 hours a year, after expenses and all, you're probably looking at personal compensation in the mid-hundreds of thousands. Unlike a lot of folks I know with six figure income, you could probably do that working a 40 hour work-week or not much more.
That's not easy compensation to get. No matter what, you probably have to take a few chances and pay some dues to get your life to that point.
So, yeah, there are a lot of attorneys, but there are also a lot of bad attorneys. People are still willing to pay good money for the services of a good attorney.
When attorneys are beating each other's brains out to make $50 an hour, then I'd say the profession is overpopulated. However, in the mean time, there's still a lot of opportunity out there.