Women are now outnumbering men two to one studying law, according to UCAS data – renewing the spotlight on gender diversity in the profession.

Figures obtained via a freedom of information request by criminal defence firm Lawtons show that 103,575 women applied for undergraduate law courses in 2022, up from 99,315 in 2021. Meanwhile, 51,865 men applied to study law last year, up from 48,895 the previous year.

Dr Adrienne Barnett, senior law lecturer at Brunel University, said: ‘From my experience as a lecturer, there are certainly a lot more women than men studying law at Brunel Law School. The reasons for this are conjecture but I suspect it's because fewer women study the STEM subjects.’

Students writing notes in a university lecture

103,575 women applied for undergraduate law courses in 2022, up from 99,315 in 2021

Source: iStock

Gender diversity in the profession has significantly improved over the years but Law Society data shows much more remains to be done to improve gender diversity at senior levels. Women currently make up 53% of solicitors practising in England and Wales but only a third of partners.

Data collated by Lawtons also shows the total number of applicants steadily rising. In 2019, 137,610 people applied to study law. Last year, universities received 155,440 applications.

Lawtons director Nick Titchener said: ‘It is essential for prospective applicants to keep an open mind when pursuing a career in law. It is important to do your research to ensure you understand the qualifications required for the specific position you want. As well as this, you should identify any relevant work experience opportunities that will help you emphasise your commitment to a career in law, such as holiday schemes, mini pupillages, marshalling or pro bono work.’


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