Legal Recruitment from Ten-Percent Legal

Monday, January 17, 2011

120 000 Solicitors in the UK? Thats a fact?

There are 9 million bicycles in Bejjing - thats a fact, its a thing we cant deny....
Katie Mellua.

There are 120,000 solicitors in the UK... For years during career coaching, careers talks and general work I have used the figure of about 105,000 and never did I expect to see that the figure had risen to 120,000, particularly in recent years with the recession, many thousands of redundancies, the near collapse of legal recruitment (see the back of the gazette for the last few years to see the lack of business in 2008-2010).

Where on earth are all these solicitors working? Well, firstly bear in mind the following when looking at these figures:

1. This is the number of solicitors on the Roll. I am on the Roll, but not practising since 2003.
2. Solicitors on the roll include rather a large number of people in between jobs, lawyers who qualified as solicitors and then did not continue, and
3. Solicitors who have left the profession but like the status (I confess to being one of these!).

The Law Society Gazette article last week made it look as if this was a terrible problem but I am not sure it is. There remains a lack of solicitors with experience within a particular level, both salary and age/experience and it is this level that has always been the recruitment pool. Anyone else is either moving out of it or towards it, but not everyone gets there.

I think that newly qualified solicitors will continue to find it difficult to get a post and should try to stay with their existing firm wherever possible, but the 120,000 figure is definitely a red herring.

The Professional Indemnity Insurance debacle definitely isnt.... I could be wrong but wasnt this market opened up many years ago on the basis that it would offer solicitors more choice and drive down cost? Potential training contract interviewees should be reading very closely about this and also the MDPs...

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