Raised trend of newly qualified female solicitors to continue

Scotland follows Ireland in announcing it has more female solicitors than male for first time

The Law Society of Ireland has said there were 4,623 practising female solicitors and 4,609 male solicitors in the Republic at the end of 2014. File photograph: Getty Images

The Law Society of Ireland has said there were 4,623 practising female solicitors and 4,609 male solicitors in the Republic at the end of 2014. File photograph: Getty Images

 

The trend whereby about two-thirds of all newly qualified solicitors in Ireland are female is likely to continue, the Law Society of Ireland has said.

Scotland’s law society followed Ireland in announcing on Wednesday that for the first time, 51 per cent of its 11,000 practising solicitors are women, following an “influx” of women into the profession.

The Law Society of Scotland said 60 per cent of in-house solicitors working in the public and private sectors were now female compared to 47 per cent of solicitors working in private practice.

It said the trend towards a “more female” profession was likely to continue, with 64 per cent of solicitors under the age of 40 being female compared to 40 per cent for solicitors over 40.

Admitted to profession

Sixty-four per cent of solicitors admitted to the profession this year in Scotland were female.

President of the Law Society of Scotland, Christine McLintock, said it was great that so many women saw their future in law, but said they continued to be relatively under-represented in senior positions.

It was likely to be “many years” before there was any kind of equality in terms of the number of women in the most senior roles.

“What is clear is that employers have to take notice of the increasing numbers of young, ambitious women choosing to enter the legal profession and plan accordingly to avoid losing talented individuals from their business,” she said.

‘Continuing debate’

“The lack of women in senior positions across the legal profession and other sectors is an issue of continuing debate, but there are many and complex reasons behind this, including availability of flexible working options, particularly in the professions, which can be very demanding on people’s time and energy, and personal choices made in balancing work and family life.”

Director general of the Law Society of Ireland Ken Murphy said the profession a year ago became the first in the world in which the majority of practitioners were female.

The Law Society has said there were 4,623 practising female solicitors and 4,609 male solicitors in the Republic at the end of 2014.

“Research confirmed that the solicitors’ profession in Ireland has led the world on this - although the feminisation of the legal profession has been a global trend for decades,” Mr Murphy said.

“The trend whereby on average about two of every three newly qualified solicitors in Ireland are female continued in 2015 and is set to do so for the foreseeable future.”