Women make up nearly half of the UK legal industry; but account for just 21% of partnerships

April 8, 2011 The Law Society in the UK has reported that there are 150,128 qualified to work in England and Wales. Those holding current practising certificates - which excludes retired lawyers and those no longer following a legal career - number nearly 118,000. Lawyer ranks have skyrocketed since 1980, when there were fewer than 38,000 practising solicitors.

There has also been a significant shift in the proportion of female lawyers – who accounted for nearly half of all working solicitors in 2010, up from just one third in 2000. At the partnership level, however, things look less equal: while nearly half of all male solicitors in private practice (48.1%) are partners in law firms, only 21.1.% of women achieve that level.

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