Study: Legal Industry Contributes $3.45B to Phila. Economy
While the legal industry is far from the largest in the city, Mullin said it does tend to have higher-than-average productivity and earnings and it tends to bring in more revenue than average into the city from sources outside of the city than other industries do.
"Location is now less relevant in terms of what we do," Barnett said. "Technology allows us to be involved in a much larger range of matters."
Barnett noted the city's law firms are creating other jobs such as court reporters and videographers, translators, legal staffing agencies and law schools.
"We were very surprised at the size and impact that the legal community generates," Barnett said. "We thought that it was a useful exercise. We want to use the report to have more informed discussions with elected officials about things such as tax policies that would potentially limit the growth of firms."
He said the committee sees the profession as one that generates a "significant amount of revenue" and that is creating good jobs in the area.
Of the $3.45 billion in revenue generated by the Philadelphia legal industry as a whole, law firms generate $2.83 billion of that, the study found. Those firms employ 17,300 people and pay $1.87 billion in compensation.
The city's three law schools—Temple University's Beasley School of Law, University of Pennsylvania Law School and Drexel University Earle Mack School of Law—contribute $90 million to the city's gross domestic product and directly employ 1,100 people, according to the study.
The court system brings in $305 million in revenue, paying out $172 million in compensation to its 1,800 employees, the study showed.
Another finding from the study, Mullin said, was that there has been a shift over the last decade toward moving employees outside of Philadelphia. According to the study, in 2001, 47 percent of the Philadelphia legal services industry was employed inside the city. That number fell to 41 percent in 2011. When looking at legal occupations, which include not only those employed in the legal services business but also lawyers or legal staff who work in nonlegal companies, the percentage went from about 40.5 percent in 2001 to 35 percent in 2011, according to the study.
In looking at just the legal services industry in Philadelphia, lawyers make up 36.7 percent of the industry's workforce. Legal secretaries comprise 18.4 percent and paralegals and legal assistants equal 14.7 percent. Other categories, such as receptionists, bookkeepers, file clerks and title examiners equate to between 4.2 percent and 1.3 percent of the Philadelphia legal industry workforce, according to the study.