Wednesday, 14 July 2021

National profile highlights Canberra’s unique legal profession

The average Canberra lawyer has been revealed – she’s under forty, and most likely works in the government legal sector. Elsewhere in Australia, the average lawyer is over forty, and in private practice.

The 2020 National Profile of Solicitors was released in Sydney today on behalf of all Australian law societies. The national snapshot survey has been conducted since 2011, and provides important demographic data about solicitors in all states and territories.

Across Australia, female solicitors represent 53% of the legal profession, and comprise the majority of solicitors employed in the community legal (71%), government legal (68%) and corporate legal sectors (60%). Conversely, women represented just under half of solicitors working in private practice (48%).

“We know from our own data that the ACT profession has a particularly high representation of female solicitors,” said ACT Law Society president Elizabeth Carroll. “Women now make up 53% of all solicitors in Australia, but here in Canberra we are 60% of the profession.”

In most states, private practice represents just under 70% of the profession, however the ACT profession is more balanced between private practice (46%) and government legal (49%).

Another interesting revelation in the data is that the average age of Australian solicitors is 43 years. Solicitors in the ACT however, were slightly younger than the average at 40 years. And though our solicitors are younger than the national trend, Canberra also had the largest proportion of lawyers admitted for 15 years or more, reflecting an experienced and career-focused profession.

“This survey highlights the diversity of the Canberra legal community, and shows that our lawyers tend to stay in legal practice longer,” Ms Carroll said. “With the local and federal government employing as many solicitors as the private sector, our lawyers have more career options, and can move between vastly different roles without having to change cities. This is a vibrant profession that I’m proud to be a member of.”

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