Female solicitors in Scotland now outnumber their male colleagues, according to latest figures from the Law Society of Scotland.
However the Society's President warned that more work needs to be done to achieve true equality in the profession.
For the first time, 51% of Scotland’s 11,000-plus practising solicitors are female, following an influx of women entering the profession. In recent years about twice as many women as men have been entering the profession.
The Society also revealed 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% of solicitors over 40;
- of the solicitors 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 52% in Glasgow, 51% in Aberdeen and 48% in Inverness.
Christine McLintock, President of the Law Society of Scotland, said it was "great" that so many women saw their future in law.
She commented: “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."
Ms McLintock added: “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 women 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.”