Historic gender shift hailed by Law Society

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There are now more women then men practising as solicitors in England & Wales.

The historic shift has been revealed in the latest annual stats report from the Law Society which shows there were 139,624 solicitors with practising certificates (PC holders) in 2017, a 2.5% increase on 2016 figures and broadly in line with annual growth over the last ten years.

Women now make up 50.1% of PC holders and 48% of the 93,155 solicitors working in private practice. They also made up 61.6% of all new admissions in 2016/17.

Women PC holders are also 5 years younger than their male counterparts on average (40 years vs 45 years).

Ethnic diversity is also improving with 16.5% of PC holders (with known ethnicity) from BAME groups. Asian solicitors remain the best represented of BAME groups, making up 8.2% of all PC holders. Two fifths of those accepted onto first degree law courses for 2017/18 are BAME students.

“With more women than men and a steadily growing proportion of solicitors from a Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) background, it is more important than ever the profession recognises and rewards talent equally,” said Law Society president Joe Egan.


Corrs partners for ground-breaking blockchain transaction
What is believed to be an Australian-first end-to-end real estate transaction has been completed using the Ethereum blockchain platform.

Corrs Chambers Westgarth has partnered with ConsenSys startup OpenLaw to help unlock the potential of the emerging technology which could have huge potential for smart contracts for real estate and property transactions.

“There are still many practical challenges to overcome to enable the implementation of this sort of technology in Australia and elsewhere, including the introduction of necessary enabling legislation. We also need to develop the smart contract to accommodate and keep track of the other sorts of information that we would normally see associated with a property like mortgagee rights, caveats, easements, restrictive covenants and so on," said Corrs lead partner on the project, Robert Franklyn.

Record number of overseas lawyers want to practise in NZ
The number of foreign applicants wanting to practise law in New Zealand beat an expected total by a third.

Figures from the New Zealand Council of Legal Education reveal 149 applications for 2017; 100 were expected.

The total is higher than the 126 applications in 2016 beats the record of 135 from 2008.