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 2020 Profile:
Number of solicitors nationally and by state
- Since 2011, the number of female solicitors has increased by 67%, while the number of male solicitors has increased by only 26%.
- The legal profession continues to be comprised of more female solicitors (53%) than male solicitors (47%). This is consistent across all states and territories.
- 2016 was the first year with an equal distribution of genders amongst solicitors (50% each).
- The Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory have the largest percentage of female solicitors (61% and 60% respectively).
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Solicitors
- In 2020, 55% of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander solicitors were women.
- In 2020, there were only 309 female solicitors who identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, excluding Victoria, where no gender data was provided (0.7% of the 44,581 female solicitors in Australia).
Age and gender of solicitors
- Women solicitors are on average seven years younger than men. The average age for women is 39, while the average age for men is 46.
- 70% of solicitors below the age of 24 are women.
- There are more male solicitors than female aged 50 and older. For example, 78% of solicitors aged between 65 and 69 are men.
Duration of admission for female solicitors
- More than half of all female solicitors (52%) have been admitted for 10 years or less, compared to only a third of male solicitors (38%).
Representation of women in different legal sectors
- Out of 10,280 solicitors in the Government legal sector, 68% are women.
- Women account for 48% of solicitors in private practice, the largest legal sector with 56,180 practitioners.
- The majority of solicitors in corporate legal practice are women, accounting for 60% of 13,359 practitioners.
- In South Australia and Tasmania, there are almost two female solicitors for every male solicitor in corporate legal practice.
- Nationally, there were two female solicitors for every male solicitor in government legal practice and community legal practice.
Representation of women in different working locations
- There was a relatively even representation of male and female solicitors working across city, suburban, rural, interstate and overseas locations. The only employment location where women were in the minority was interstate; 55% of solicitors practising abroad are men.
- 67% of young solicitors (admitted within the last five years) working in rural or country areas were women. This represents an increase of 2% since 2018.