The Law Society of England and Wales has published its annual statistics report for 2016 this month. The report advises that as at 31 July 2016:
- There were 175,160 individuals on the Roll of solicitors, an increase of 4.1% on the previous year;
- There were 136,176 solicitors with practising certificates and therefore entitled to act as a solicitor within the definition of the Solicitors Act 1974, an increase of 2.1% on the previous year;
- The number of solicitors with practising certificates has increased dramatically over the last two decades, from 68,037 in 1996 and from 104,543 in 2006;
- In growth terms, the number of practising certificate holders working in-house exceeded those in private practice and accounted for 22% of all certificate holders;
- There were 91,166 solicitors working in private practice, 57.8% more than in 1996 when there were 55,673 solicitors and 13.1% more than in 2006 when there were 80,575 solicitors in private practice;
- There were 9,430 private practice firms registered in England & Wales, an increase of 0.3% on the previous year;
- The number of Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups amongst practising certificate holders has risen to 16%.
While there have been some high profile casualties in recent times and a number of new entrants retracting from the market, the report suggests that the profession as a whole remains on a firm footing.
A copy of the full report is available from the Law Society, priced at £99.