Back in the days of Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas, some two-thirds of those in the Illinois General Assembly were lawyers.
Even in the 1970s, a good percentage of legislators had law practices on the side. Or, perhaps more accurately, vice versa.
But the number of attorney-lawmakers has been dropping since then. When the new General Assembly is seated on Jan. 9, there will be just 21 lawyers in the House and 15 in the Senate. That's a decline of one per chamber.
Of course, three of the four leaders - Michael Madigan, John Cullerton and Tom Cross - are lawyers. And the fourth, Christine Radogno, is married to a lawyer.
But as for the rank and file, not so much.
Many law practices are more time consuming these days, and legislators, theoretically part-time, are expected to put in more hours than in the past. So it's harder to combine both roles.
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