In what it claims is a first for any legal profession in the world, the Law Society of Ireland announced today that female Irish solicitors now outnumber male solicitors practising in the republic.

Ken Murphy, director general of the Law Society of Ireland, said: ‘There were exactly 4,623 female practising solicitors and exactly 4,609 male practising solicitors at the close of 2014.’

He noted that the first woman solicitor was admitted in 1923.

Teri Kelly (pictured), the Law Society of Ireland’s director of representation and member services, said in an article for the Irish Law Society’s Gazette: ‘To our knowledge, this is the first time a female majority has existed in any legal profession anywhere in the world.’

She said that gender balance in law and justice in Ireland has come a long way.

‘Women currently dominate the state’s senior appointments in law and justice.

‘Last year saw the appointment of the first female Garda commissioner, Nóirín O’Sullivan, and the third female minister for justice, Frances Fitzgerald. These appointments can be added to the first woman chief justice of the Supreme Court, Susan Denham; the first woman director of public prosecutions, Claire Loftus; the first woman chief state solicitor, Eileen Creedon; and the first woman attorney general, Máire Whelan.’

The Law Society of England and Wales said that if average annual growth rates in the numbers of practising certificate holders from the previous five years (2008-2013) remain at 4.1% for women and 1.3% for men, the number of female PC holders will exceed the number of male PC holders by 2017.