Our in-house members - the facts

In recent years, the number of Scottish solicitors working in-house has increased significantly. In 1995, just under 1,500 of our members were in-house lawyers, equating to 18% of the overall profession.  Today, around 3,000 Scottish solicitors work in-house.  That’s almost 30% of the profession.

As the number solicitors working in-house grows, so too does the number of organisations employing in-house lawyers.  Our in-house members currently work in around 800 different public and private organisations.

The five biggest employers of in-house lawyers in Scotland currently are:

  • the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service
  • the Scottish Government
  • The Royal Bank of Scotland plc
  • Glasgow City Council
  • the National Health Service Scotland

Each of these organisations employs over 50 solicitors, making these legal departments more like large or medium law firms in scope and size. 

At the other end of the spectrum, a large number of organisations employ only one solicitor, making some in-house lawyers more akin to sole practitioners.

Almost two thirds of our in-house members work in the public and third sectors including the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal’s Service, central and local government, public bodies, the courts and charities. 

Just over a third are employed across a range of commerce and industry.  Significant numbers of in-house lawyers work in the financial services and energy sectors.  Other areas include media, construction, technology, pharmaceuticals, and engineering.

The following graphic shows the breakdown of Scottish in-house lawyers by sector.