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Legal profession snapshot

Briefs

Cite as: July 2015 89 (7) LIJ, p.10

National study

Solicitor numbers in Australia are increasing, with the biggest growth in government and corporate lawyers, according to a new national study.

A greater number of solicitors are also working later in life, with the number aged over 65 increasing by 38 per cent.

The new data is from the October 2014 National Profile of Solicitors in Australia, which was released in May 2015 on behalf of the Conference of Law Societies. The last profile was done in October 2011.

Main national findings October 2011-October 2014:
  • 22 per cent increase in corporate lawyers;
  • 19 per cent increase in government lawyers;
  • 9 per cent increase in private law firms to 12,843;
  • 559 solicitors identify as Indigenous Australians;
  • 300 per cent increase in large law firms (40+ partners);
  • 42 is the average age of solicitors;
  • in ACT and NT women solicitors outnumber male solicitors;
  • Tasmania has highest number of city-based solicitors;
  • Queensland has most country solicitors – 29.9 per cent; and
  • growth sectors are corporate (+21.8 per cent), government (+18.6 per cent) and private (+19.9 per cent).
  • Victorian solicitors up

    9.5%

  • 1406 more solicitors between October 2011 and October 2014 including:
  • 442 men
  • 964 women
  • 16,214 total solicitors
  • Figures for Victoria to 1 October 2014 were provided by the Legal Services Board and are updated monthly on the LSB website.

    LIV president Katie Miller said the report revealed the changing face of the profession. “The traditional middle-aged male in private practice has been joined by the slightly younger woman working in-house (government or corporate). I hope the next time the study is done the faces represent more the cultural diversity of our community,” Ms Miller said.

    “The raw number of currently practising lawyers is not the issue. The issue is whether practising lawyers are meeting the demand for legal services. We must do more to connect lawyers to clients by providing more efficient and convenient services.”

    The 2014 National Profile of Solicitors in Australia, which was done by Urbis and co-ordinated by the NSW Law Society, can be viewed at: www.lawsociety.com.au/resources/surveysandstatistics.

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