The number of practising solicitors in England and Wales edged to more than 130,000 by the end of October, Solicitors Regulation Authority figures reveal.
The number of practising solicitors in England and Wales edged to more than 130,000 by the end of October, Solicitors Regulation Authority figures revealed today.
The SRA’s regulated population statistics show solicitor numbers jumped by 849 in October, partly boosted by foreign students registering at the start of their course.
The final October figure was 130,643, an all-time record high which is likely to fall again in the coming months following the end of the practising certificate renewal period this month.
In total, 162,367 solicitors were on the roll at the end of October, a monthly increase of more than 1,000. There are also more solicitors with higher rights of audience – 6,371 – than ever before.
For the first time, the SRA has broken down the reasons for the 941 firm closures registered in the 12 months to the end of July 2013.
Of these, 367 ceased practising, 220 merged or amalgamated and 302 changed their status, though they may not necessarily have stopped offering legal services.
In the 12 months to the end of September 2013, 903 firms opened.
Two years ago, 30% of solicitor firms were partnership, meaning it was the second most common form of business structure. That proportion has now dropped to 25%, with sole practitioners (29% of all firms) and incorporated companies (30%) more common.
The total number of firms at the end of October remained almost the same as the previous month, at 10,724.