Ninety-five years after the profession admitted Carrie Morrison, women have overtaken men as a majority of practising solicitors. That is the stand-out finding of the Law Society Annual Statistics Report, which continues to track a trend of long-term and bullish growth.
There were 139,624 solicitors with practising certificates (PC) in 2017, a 2.5% increase on the previous year and broadly in line with annual growth over the past 10 years. That is a rise of 29% in the last decade alone, highlighting just how well the profession rode out the financial crisis, and compares with a figure of just 48,937 in 1987.
Women now make up 50.1% of PC holders and 48% of the 93,155 solicitors working in private practice. Some 62% of new admissions in 2016/17 were women.
Nearly 17% of PC holders with known ethnicity are from black, Asian and ethnic minority (BAME) groups. Asian solicitors remain the best represented of BAME groups, making up 8.2% of all PC holders.
Law Society president Joe Egan said: ‘With more women than men and a steadily growing proportion of solicitors from a [BAME] background, it is more important than ever the profession recognises and rewards talent equally.
‘Every step towards greater equality will benefit businesses, clients and solicitors alike. ’