Annual statistics report 2020

Our annual statistics report (ASR) provides a comprehensive picture of how the size and structure of the solicitors’ profession has evolved over time.

Part one of the report looks at qualified solicitors, the sectors and the entities in which they work and analyses the diversity within the profession.

Part two covers the development and entry of new solicitors including numbers pursuing law degrees, training contracts and being admitted to the profession through various routes.

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Key findings

  • The number of solicitors with practising certificates (PC holders) reached 149,891 – an increase of 2% in the 12 months to 31 July 2020. There were 202,374 solicitors on the roll in total
  • Women with practising certificates outnumbered men by over 6,600 – making up over 52% of all PC holders
  • PC holders from Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups dropped to 13.7%. This is likely due to an increase of non-reporting of ethnicity, with a record of over 33,500 unknown ethnic origins (nearly 5,000 more from the year before)
  • The proportion of those working in-house grew 1% (to 24% of all PC holders) from the year before (a likely underestimate as some PC holders are not officially recorded as working in-house)
  • Students graduating with degrees in law from universities in England and Wales continued to rise, reaching over 17,000 in 2020. 80% of students graduated with a first or upper second classification
  • Trainee registrations dropped by over 11%. Coronavirus and the national lockdowns had an impact as trainee registrations from April to July 2020 were, on average, 59% less than the previous year
  • The rate of growth amongst number of roll admissions slowed after five years to a 4% decline from the year before

How this report can help you

As a business, you can use the ASR to inform your workforce planning, recruitment strategies and diversity initiatives with a longer-term view.

As an individual, you can use the ASR to inform your career choices and planning by staying up to date with the trends within the legal profession for both solicitors and firms within England and Wales.

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