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 per cent) and female solicitors (49.2 per cent).
• Since 1995, the number of female solicitors has increased by 300.4 per cent (from 3,554 to 14,230) while the number of male solicitors has increased by only 59.1 per cent (9,243 to 14,705).
• In 2015, 59 per cent of solicitors entering the profession for the first time were women.
• Females were more strongly represented than males in government (63.5 per cent female) and corporate (57.6 per cent female) sectors, while males were more strongly represented than females in the private sector (55.3 per cent male).
• Just under a quarter (22.1 per cent) of female practitioners worked part time, compared to 16.4 per cent for the profession as a whole.
• Almost three quarters (75.3 per cent) of female private practitioners were employees, compared to 59.3 per cent for the profession as a whole.
• Conversely, less than one tenth of female private practitioners (12.9 per cent) were principal solicitors in a law practice, compared to 24.3 per cent for the profession as a whole (not including sole practitioners).
• Nearly two fifths (39.3 per cent) of female practitioners worked in sole practitioner or sole principal firms – slightly less than the profession as a whole (43.4 per cent).
• Over one fifth (21.5 per cent) of female practitioners worked in firms with 40 or more partners – a slightly higher proportion compared to the profession as a whole (18.8 per cent).
• 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 per cent lower compared to the profession as a whole ($129,886).