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Scottish solicitors now majority female

23 December 2015 | tagged News release

There are now more female solicitors than male according to the latest statistics from the Law Society of Scotland.

For the first time, 51% of Scotland’s 11,000+ practising solicitors are female following an influx of women entering the profession in recent years.

New figures from the Law Society also show that;

  • 60% of in-house solicitors working in the public and private sectors are female compared to 47% of solicitors working in private practice,
  • The trend towards a more female profession is likely to continue with 64% of solicitors under the age of 40 being female compared to 40% for solicitors over 40,
  • Of the solicitors being admitted to the profession this year, 64% were female,
  • There are marginal differences between Scotland’s big cities with 53% of Dundee and Edinburgh solicitors being female, compared to Glasgow (52%), Aberdeen (51%) and Inverness (48%).

Christine McLintock, president of the Law Society of Scotland, said: “Increasing numbers of women have joined the legal profession over the past decade and it’s great that that so many women see their future in law.

“Solicitors play a crucial role in our society and our economy, helping thousands of people and businesses with a wide spectrum of legal issues, from providing advice on buying or selling people’s homes and assistance with writing a will or setting up a power of attorney that ensures loved ones are protected, to representing people in court and advising clients involved in multi-million pound contracts for global companies.

“There are many talented men and women working in the legal profession in Scotland and it’s encouraging to see the legal profession continue to grow.

“Although women outnumber men as newly admitted solicitors each year,  they continue to be relatively under-represented in senior positions, for example as partners in private practice. What is clear is that employers have to take notice of the increasing numbers of young, ambitious women choosing to enter the legal profession and plan accordingly to avoid losing talented individuals from their business. I have no doubt that we will continue to see women in the profession rise to the top, but given the results of our own and others' research, it's likely to be many years before we see any kind of equality in terms of the numbers of women in the most senior roles.

“The lack of women in senior positions across the legal profession and other sectors, is an issue of continuing debate but there are many and complex reasons behind this, including availability of flexible working options, particularly in the professions which can be very demanding on people's time and energy, and personal choices made in balancing work and family life.

“The Society is committed to its ongoing equality and diversity work. It’s important that we understand the changing profile of the legal profession, which includes looking at the reasons why more woman are choosing a career in law and why men currently appear to be less attracted to joining the legal profession, to ensure we can encourage and support best practice at all stages of a solicitor’s career.”

ENDS                                                                          22 December 2015

Notes to editors:

Photograph – Newly qualified solicitors at the most recent Law Society of Scotland admission ceremony at the Playfair Library, Edinburgh, September 2015

 Gender Split 2015

The Law Society of Scotland has over 11,000 practising solicitor members. As part of its work on equality and diversity within the legal profession the Law Society launched equality standardsin February 2015. The UK Government also passed legislation in 2015 that requires larger employers across all sectors to publish gender pay gap figures.

The full equality and diversity research findings are available on the Law Society of Scotland website:

Profile of the profession

 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: Journalists can contact Sarah Sutton sarahsutton@lawscot.org.uk or Val McEwan valeriemcewan@lawscot.org.uk

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