The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) maintains records at each stage of training, from the traineeship to successful admission to the roll. Details of ethnic origin, as well as other biographical data, are sought at the time of enrolment. Individuals are not obliged to complete the question on their ethnicity but historically a high proportion have been prepared to do so.
This research helps the Solicitors Regulation Authority to monitor the make-up of those wanting to enter the profession.
Undergraduates and graduates in law
In 2014, 31,800 people applied to study law at undergraduate level in England and Wales, out of whom 21,775 were accepted on to courses.
Women made up 64.8 per cent of students accepted on to university law degree courses.
Overseas students made up 22 per cent of those accepted.
Students from minority ethnic groups accounted for 36.5 per cent of UK student starting a first degree law course in 2014.
The training contract is the final hurdle in becoming a solicitor. It is a work-based training period, generally undertaken over two years with a firm of solicitors.
In the year ending 31 July 2014, 5,001 new traineeships were registered with the SRA.
60.8 per cent of these trainees were female.
Admission to the roll
Once the qualifying law degree, the Legal Practice Course and the training period have been completed successfully, application can be made to the roll of solicitors of England and Wales, which entitles the applicant to practise as a solicitor.
6,345 individuals were admitted to the roll in the year that ended 31 July 2014.
60.0 per cent of these were women. 1,335 solicitors admitted were from minority ethnic groups. 59.5 per cent of those admitted from minority ethnic groups were female.
The average age of those entered onto the roll in 2013-14 was 30.2 years. The average age of males was slightly higher than that of females.
Solicitors on the roll
The Solicitors Regulation Authority is required to collect and maintain records of all qualified solicitors on the roll.
As at 31 July 2014, there were 160,394 solicitors on the roll.
Of these 81,767 (51 per cent) were men and 78,627 (49 per cent) were women.
There were 22,527 solicitors from minority ethnic groups on the roll.
In 2014, 130,382 solicitors held current practising certificates.
17,831 of those holding current practising certificates came from minority ethnic groups, 62,844 (48.2 per cent) were held by women and 67,538 (51.8 per cent) were held by men.