There was a 9 per cent rise in the number of trainee registrations in the 12 months to 31 July 2015, compared with the year before, according to the recently published Law Society Annual Statistics Report for 2015.
Headline findings of the report include:
Law Society chief executive Catherine Dixon commented: ’The legal sector contributes £25.7bn to the economy each year, with net exports now at £3.6bn per annum, so the growth in the sector indicated by our research is great news for the UK. The significant increase in the number of commercial organisations employing practising solicitors in the 12 months to 31 July 2015 reflects the central role of General Counsel and in-house teams as business advisors who drive innovation and shape organisational risk culture.
However, we know that in some areas, such as publicly-funded legal advice, recruitment is far more challenging. Continued consolidation in the market is evidenced by a rise in the number of solicitors working in private practice alongside a further fall in the number of private practice firms, which now stands at 1,000 fewer than five years ago. Diversity is improving, with the proportion of BAME solicitors continuing to grow and more women than men entering the profession. However, the gender and ethnicity gap at a more senior level continues. Firms with good diversity, inclusion and social mobility policies have a competitive advantage.
Through the Law Society Diversity and Inclusion Charter, our Diversity Access Scheme and by working closely with law firms we support the profession to give all talented individuals who aspire to a career as a solicitor fair access and opportunity to pursue their ambition.’