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Number of Scottish solicitors reaches all-time high

Date:13 NOV 2014
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The Scottish legal profession continues to grow as the number of practising solicitors reaches an all-time high of 11,000.

The latest membership statistics from the Law Society present a picture of an increasingly youthful profession with 56% of solicitors now under the age of 45.

Alistair Morris, President of the Law Society said:

'I am very pleased that the legal profession in Scotland is continuing to grow and that so many young people see their future in law. The latest statistics are a good indicator of the improving health of the profession and that despite the difficulties experienced by many as a result of the downturn, we are making progress as the economy recovers.

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 your home and assistance with writing a will that ensures loved ones are protected, to representing people in court and advising clients involved in multi-million pound contracts for global companies.'
The data shows that increasing numbers of women are entering the profession, with 69% of all female solicitors currently under 45 years old compared to 43% of all male solicitors. The overall gender split shows that 49% of the profession are women and 51% are men, but this shifts when you look at the split for the under-45s, 61% women and 39% men.

There are around 750 organisations that aren’t law firms employing Scottish solicitors, with approximately 250 of those in England and Wales and almost 100 organisations elsewhere in the world.

Over a quarter of the profession, at 28%, now work in house in both the private and public sectors, showing the value organisations place on having legal counsel as part of their in-house team. 6% of the profession work as sole-practioners and 33% are employed at big firms, a firm with 10 or more partners.

There are now around 20 practising solicitors per 10,000 Scottish citizens or 1 solicitor in every 500 Scots. The average age of entry to profession is 26, and 19% have qualified in the past 5 years.