How many solicitors are there in England and Wales? And who are they?
The number of solicitors are growing at four times the rate of the population - find out where they are, their ethnicity and how the numbers have changed
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The number of solicitors in England and Wales has rocketed.
The number of solicitors qualified to work in England and Wales has rocketed over the past 30 years, according to new figures from the Law Society. The number holding certificates - which excludes retired lawyers and those no longer following a legal career - are at nearly 118,000, up 36% on ten years ago.
The population of England and Wales has only grown at 10% over the same period.
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The report, published as a PDF, gives a comprehensive view of being a solicitor today, including:
• Women accounted for approaching half of all working solicitors, a significant shift in the profile of the profession since 2000 when almost two-thirds were men
• Nearly three-quarters of solicitors work in private practice and a significant number, 20,245, in financial firms in the City
• 58% of women gained first or upper second class degrees in law courses compared to 54.2% for men
• Nearly half of all male solicitors in private practive (48.1%) are partners in law firms whereas only 21.1.% of women achieve that level
The geographic split is weighted disproportionately toward the City of London - there are 1,760 solicitors for every 1,000 residents there. But apart from that anomaly, London dominates.
Number of solicitors, 2010
It is also becoming a more ethnically varied profession. Around 11.1% of practising solicitors were from black and minority ethnic backgrounds, up from 10.6% the previous year - and a big change from 2001.
We''ve extracted the data from the PDFs for you - what can you do with it?
Solicitors in England and Wales
Total number of solicitors
Number of solicitors per 1,000 population
Black, min ethnic, %
White Euro, %
SOURCE: LAW SOCIETY
City London 20,245 1,760.43 10 78
Rest of inner London 23,543 7.72 19 67
Greater London 43,788 9.33 15 72
South East 12,112 1.44 8 83
Eastern 7,330 1.27 15 74
South West 5,660 1.08 2 90
West Midlands 7,847 1.44 14 78
East Midlands 4,466 1.00 10 82
Yorkshire & Humberside 7,652 1.46 8 85
North West 12,293 1.78 7 85
North East 3,087 1.19 3 90
Wales 3,683 1.23 3 89
Outside England/Wales 6,602 15 61
Unknown 3,344 5 86
Total 117,862 2.15 11 78
The number of divorces in England and Wales in 2010 was 119,589, an increase of 4.9 per cent since 2009, when there were 113,949 divorces
The divorce rate rose in 2010 to 11.1 divorcing people per thousand married population from 10.5 in 2009
22 per cent of marriages in 1970 had ended in divorce by the 15th wedding anniversary, whereas 33 per cent of marriages in 1995 had ended after the same period of time
The number of divorces in 2010 was highest among men and women aged 40 to 44
That''s true - and it''s why there''s now a whole new brand of lawyer called the paralegal. These are people who have passed all the exams but can''t get a training contract. They do lower paid work with the big accident claim firms and the like, doing the computer and telephone work to administer the whiplash claims.
I had understood that the number of solicitors with practising certificates was 125,000 as at 1st December last. Whatever, it''s far too many.
Of the 119,000 or so divorces in the year ending in 2010, a very high proportion were between people who have no money to speak of - something like 87,000 I think. There are around 6-8,000 specialist family law solicitors and they are chasing 30-35,000 privately paying customers. Lean times lie ahead!