Annual Statistics Report 2019

Our Annual Statistics Report (ASR) has been compiled for over 30 years and provides a comprehensive picture of how the size and structure of the solicitors’ profession has evolved.

The ASR has tended to focus on private practice, which continues to employ most practising solicitors. However, in-house solicitors now make up almost one-quarter of the profession.

This year’s report expands on visually representing the distribution of practising certificate (PC) holders by:

  • gender
  • ethnicity
  • region
  • sector

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.

Key findings

Key findings from this year’s report show:

  • in the 12 months to 31 July 2019, the number of solicitors with practising certificates (PC holders) reached 146,953 – the highest recorded so far
  • there were 195,821 individuals on the Roll of solicitors in total, with year on year growth slowing to 3.7%
  • women PC holders outnumbered men by over 4,500, a gap that has grown over the past two years
  • black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) groups reached 17.5% as a share of all PC holders, based on those with known ethnicity, growing steadily
  • the number of private practitioners increased by 1,200, a 1.3% growth from last year
  • students graduating with degrees in law from universities in England and Wales continued to rise in 2019 to 16,499 and 72.8% graduated with a first or upper second degree
  • trainee registrations rose by nearly 10% in the year to July 2019, with almost 90% in private practice firms
  • women made up close to two thirds of new trainees
  • 30% of all traineeships were in the City of London
  • the number of Roll admissions showed steady growth for the fifth year running – with nearly 7,000 admissions to the Roll, the 12 months to July 2019 saw a 3% increase from the year before

Our view

19.5% of all PC holders did not share their ethnic background, increasing the incompleteness of ethnicity data on record. This figure has risen from near 10% since 2009.

Most newly admitted solicitors do not provide their ethnic origin on the mySRA website (where all personal information is maintained).

Unless this data is collected through other means, the ability to monitor and analyse diversity trends based on individuals’ ethnicity will be further impacted.

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.

What we’re doing

We’re working on producing dashboards for this data to create a more interactive experience.

We want to utilise data visualisation tools to give you the ability to explore data, discover information, and analyse trends for your business analysis and curiosities.

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