As a long-time Phoenix, Arizona based lawyer I am sometimes amazed at how small the legal community seems, considering how large the community in general is. I recently discovered that that is only true in the insulated world of my own practice, which does not encompass the myriad of different legal problems people and businesses face on a daily basis. Fortunately, there appear to be plenty of Phoenix lawyers to fit the bill for whatever need you might have.Despite what I admit were some pretty feeble research attempts, I wasn’t able to find any statistics for the number of lawyers practicing in the city of Phoenix itself, but a search function available on the the Arizona State Bar’s website reveals that there are over 12,000 lawyers in Maricopa County, Arizona, which is basically the Phoenix metropolitan area. Frankly, that seems like a lot of lawyers.Maybe too many.Twelve thousand lawyers is enough people (if you can call lawyers people) to constitute a nice small town, or a significant percentage of the population of many state capitals.So why does it seem that I keep bumping up against the same few lawyers and why, when looking for a referral for a practice area I don’t work in, does it sometimes seem so hard to find the right lawyer?I think part of the answer lies in the increasing number of specialty practices born partly by the increasing complexity of many legal practices. If you are only handling aviation accident cases, you’ll probably interact primarily with the small number of other lawyers handling similar types of cases. And there are many such specialty practices out there if you are in need of a specialized practitioner.Of course, many of the Phoenix’s 12,000+ lawyers work in capacities that are virtually invisible to most of us in our daily lives, though they are vital to the effective functioning of society in general. Many of them, maybe half or more, work for the State, Federal Government, a City, or the County in a civil or criminal practice. Unfortunately, due to a variety of social truths that are beyond the scope of this article, it takes a lot of lawyers to keep the government running.A lot of the remaining lawyers are directly employed by large or mid-sized businesses or work for larger law firms that serve the significant legal needs of larger companies. Again, many of these lawyers are virtually invisible to to most of us (even other lawyers) are would never be a realistic consideration if an average person or company needed to hire a Phoenix lawyer.So at the end of the day I believe there is a surprisingly limited supply of Phoenix lawyers for available to help most individuals and businesses when they find themselves in need. These lawyers work from small to mid-size law firms or often practice alone, typically limiting their areas of practice to a limited scope of issues where they have some familiarity. People looking for a Phoenix lawyer should spend some time finding a lawyer or law firm who fits their needs and their personality.The best way to find a Phoenix lawyer today, in my opinion, is to do some research on the internet, where many lawyers offer profiles of themselves and their practices. Its also always a good idea to ask for referrals from trusted sources. If you have a lawyer you trust who does not handle the type of case you are looking for, they can be an excellent resource for a referral as well.