The Law Society’s Annual Profile contains a demographic analysis of the solicitors in NSW. Information is drawn from two sources: the annual census data in the Law Society’s database and the annual survey completed as part of the practising certificate renewal process.
The following statistics are from the 2015 Profile:
• There was close to an even proportion of male (50.8%) and female solicitors (49.2%).
• Since 1995, the number of female solicitors has increased by 300.4% (from 3,554 to 14,230) while the number of male solicitors has increased by only 59.1% (9,243 to 14,705).
• In 2015, 59.0% of solicitors entering the profession for the first time were women.
• Females were more strongly represented than males in government (63.5% female) and corporate (57.6% female) sectors, while males were more strongly represented than females in the private sector (55.3% male).
• Just under a quarter (22.1%) of female practitioners worked part time, compared to 16.4% for the profession as a whole.
• Almost three quarters (75.3%) of female private practitioners were employees, compared to 59.3% for the profession as a whole.
• Conversely, less than one tenth of female private practitioners (12.9%) were principal solicitors in a law practice, compared to 24.3% for the profession as a whole (not including sole practitioners).
• Nearly two fifths (39.3%) of female practitioners worked in sole practitioner or sole principal firms – slightly less than the profession as a whole (43.4%).
• Over one fifth (21.5%) of female practitioners worked in firms with 40 or more partners – a slightly higher proportion compared to the profession as a whole (18.8%).
• The average age of female solicitors (39.0) was lower compared to the profession as a whole (42.7).
• The estimated mean income of female practitioners ($118,012) was approximately 10% lower compared to the profession as a whole ($129,886).