More aspiring lawyers started their training contract in London last year than in the rest of the country, the Law Society Annual Statistics report has found. The 2017 report also reveals trends such as a shift in the profession’s gender balance and record growth in the number of students taking law degrees.
Over a third of aspiring solicitors who commenced their legal training between 2016-17, did so in the City of London, the Law Society Annual Statistics report has found. Meanwhile, a further 18 per cent (1,002) started their life as a trainee in the ‘rest of London’. This means over half (52 per cent) of all new trainee solicitors in 2016 have started their careers in the capital.
Almost two-fifths of those accepted onto first degree law courses for 2017/18 are BAME students
Away from London, 11 per cent of junior lawyers were based in the North West, seven per cent in the South East and six per cent in Yorkshire and Humberside. Just three per cent (175) trained in the East Midlands and three per cent (159) in Wales.
Record numbers of law students
A 3.6% rise in applications led to a record number of students (23,605) accepted onto first degree law courses in England and Wales for 2017/18, the report found.
The proportion of law graduates awarded first and upper second-class degrees has also grown (71.5 per cent in 2017 up from 55.8 per cent in 2007).
Training contract numbers remained more-or-less static, however, after two years of growth.
Female solicitors outnumber male colleagues
One of the report’s major findings was that, for the first time there are more female solicitors then men - 50.1 per cent of practising certificate holders in 2017 were women. Women also made up 61.6 per cent of new admissions in 2016/17.
Rise in BAME students taking law degrees
Almost two-fifths of those accepted onto first degree law courses for 2017/18 are BAME students, the report showed.
However, ethnicity was unknown for 69 per cent of new admissions to the profession. This follows a move to online self-provision of ethnicity by new solicitors through the Solicitors Regulation Authority website. The lack of complete data on ethnicity has an increasing impact on the ability to monitor diversity within the profession.
Statistics for new entrants to the profession, in the year to 31 July 2017, also found that:
- 91.9 per cent of new trainees started in private practices.
- Roll admissions increased for the second year in a row (from 6,346 in 2015/16 to 6,478 in 2016/17).
- Admissions via overseas transfers represented almost one in 10 admissions, (increasing from 532 in 2015/16 to 661 in 2016/17).