The figures from the Law Society of NSW showed of a total 71,509 practicing solicitors nationwide in 2016 some 35,799 women accounting for just over half at 50.1 per cent, the first time that women have outnumbered men. In addition the study showed that the number of women entering Australia’s legal profession was more than double the number of men accounting for 35 per cent as opposed to 16 per cent.
‘We have made significant advances in all areas of practice to assist the retention and career progression of women in the profession however impediments still remain,’ said The Law Society of NSW Chief Executive Officer Michael Tidball.
More to do in leadership roles
However, he said that there was more for law firms to do to promote women to leadership roles including translating flexible working policies into reality. ‘The legal profession must assist men and women to better balance their professional and other commitments.’
Move to corporates
The report also revealed that many lawyers have moved to corporates. ‘Between 2011 and 2016, there was a 59 per cent increase in the number of solicitors working in the corporate sector, compared to a 17 per cent increase working in the private sector,” said Mr Tidball.