NSW legal profession younger, more diverse, more female, but more to do


The latest snapshot of the NSW solicitors has revealed a growing legal profession that’s increasingly made up of people from culturally diverse backgrounds, a growing majority of women and younger practitioners.

President of the Law Society of NSW Joanne van der Plaat said the 2021 Annual Profile of Solicitors in NSW published today provides transparency to the profession and the broader community about the demographic and staff retention challenges it faces in the years ahead.

“The Profile was compiled by consultancy firm Urbis using demographic information from the Law Society’s database covering all solicitors, as well as responses by 56 per cent of practitioners to the 2021 voluntary practising certificate survey,” Ms van der Plaat said.

“The Law Society appreciates greatly the participation of all practitioners who take the time to complete the survey. The responses provide important insights into the profession, in turn informing our advocacy on behalf of our members. The more responses we get, the better our information is and the more effectively we can meet the needs of our members,” Ms van der Plaat said.

Figures in the Profile show pay for female lawyers continues to lag behind their male counterparts, as does the opportunity for women to advance to practice leadership positions.

“The Law Society is committed to working with the profession to assist law firms to develop ways of nurturing all their talent,” Ms van der Plaat said.

“What we as lawyers can celebrate is a younger, more culturally diverse and more gender diverse profession. There’s a way to go yet, but year by year, I think we’re seeing the profession in NSW growing to reflect more accurately the Australian community. That can only be a good thing.”  

Find the 2021 Annual Profile of Solicitors NSW here. The Law Society expects to publish the next Annual Profile of Solicitors NSW on 1 July 2023.