Scrooge McDuck: he is the 1 percent (but not a lawyer).

Becoming a millionaire a few months after graduating from law school is pretty amazing. But can you imagine being a billionaire?

Wouldn’t it be nice to be a member of the Forbes 400, the richest people in the United States? Then you can party on a yacht with models and bottles donate $20 million to the law school that helped launch you along the path of professional success.

We’ve written before about the lawyers and law school graduates on the Forbes 400. Earlier this month, the magazine released the latest rankings, and lawyers made a strong showing.

But there aren’t as many lawyers on the list as there used to be. What happened?

Well, for starters, it got tougher to make it on to the list. The rich keep getting richer, as Forbes explains:

Five years after the financial crisis sent the fortunes of many in the U.S. and around the world tumbling, the wealthiest as a group have finally gained back all that they lost. The 400 wealthiest Americans are worth just over $2 trillion, roughly equivalent to the GDP of Russia. That is a gain of $300 billion from a year ago, and more than double a decade ago. The average net worth of list members is a staggering $5 billion, $800 million more than a year ago and also a record. The minimum net worth needed to make the 400 list was $1.3 billion. The last time it was that high was in 2007 and 2008, before property and stock market values began sliding. Because the bar is so high, 61 American billionaires didn’t make the cut.

Regarding the lawyers on the list, here’s what we did. We took last year’s comprehensive listing of lawyers on the Forbes 400, reviewed the newcomers and the dropouts for this year’s list, and figured out the net change in the number of lawyers.

This year’s list boasts 33 lawyers. We reached this number by taking the 35 lawyers on last year’s list, noting that none of the newcomers are lawyers, and subtracting the two tycoons who dropped off:

  • Todd Wagner: Wagner, who made his fortune when he and Mark Cuban sold Broadcast.com to Yahoo for $5.7 billion, is still worth $1.25 billion. But he narrowly missed this year’s increased cutoff of $1.3 billion — and now the humiliated UVA Law grad is on A-T-L.
  • Paul Singer: The Harvard Law grad and hedge fund manager — and prominent supporter of marriage equality, yay! — also fell short with $1.25 billion.

Since UVA Law and HLS lost one alum each, they fall into a five-way tie for having the highest number of graduates on the list. The other three schools with three alumni on the Forbes 400 are Stanford Law, Northwestern Law, and SMU Law. Check out the full list here (but subtract Wagner and Singer, and note that net worths and ranks have changed somewhat over the past year).

Congratulations to all the lawyers on the Forbes 400. For some people, the J.D. turns out to be a billion-dollar degree.[1]

1. Yes, we know that there’s only one practicing lawyer on this list (Joe Jamail), meaning that most of these folks either inherited their money or made it in business, not law. But a number of them have spoken about how their legal background and training helped them in the business world. Also — can you really fault us for trying to share some happy news in these pages?

The Forbes 400: The Richest People in America [Forbes]
Inside The 2013 Forbes 400: Facts And Figures On America’s Richest [Forbes]

Earlier: Lawyers on the Forbes 400: A Closer Look
The Richest Lawyers (or Law School Graduates) in America: Lawyers on the Forbes 400 (2012)
Super-Rich Law School Graduates: Lawyers on the Forbes 400 (2011)
A New Way To Pay Off Your Law School Loans?
An Eight-Figure Gift For A Top Law School


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