How many lawyers are there in Australia?
As we see more and more court cases coming into the spotlight, it brings the question to mind – how many lawyers are actually out there making it all happen?
According to the National Profile of Solicitors, as of October last year, there were 76,303 practising lawyers in Australia.
The highest percentage of registered lawyers resided in New South Wales at 43%, followed by Victoria at 26% and Queensland at 15%. Then came Western Australia with 7%, South Australia with 5% and the Australian Capital Territory with 3%. The Northern Territory and Tasmania hold the lowest number of practising lawyers in Australia with only 1% each.
Over the last 7 years, the number of practising lawyers is reported to have increased nationally by 33%.
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Men vs. Women
In 2018, for the first time, there were a greater proportion of female lawyers to male lawyers. The National Profile of Solicitors showed that female solicitors made up 52% of the workforce, while men made up 48%. This was a huge development for a once very male-dominated industry. The Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory hold notably higher female representation, with Western Australia reported as the only jurisdiction with an even representation of both male and female lawyers.
Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander status
Sadly there has been a decrease in the number of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander status within the legal profession in Australia. In the last two years, there has been a 0.5% decrease with 0.7% of lawyers identifying as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander, in comparison with 1.2% in 2016. The states holding the highest proportion of these lawyers include New South Wales at 1.2% and Tasmania at 1.1%.
The average age of Australian lawyers in 2018 was 42 years. Lawyers aged between 25 and 39 make up almost half of all solicitors at 48%. While this average has remained consistent over the past 8 years, there has been a significant increase in the proportion of lawyers aged under 25 years of age, with a growth of 33% since 2014. As well as this the proportion of solicitors aged 65 years and over has also increased by 35%.
What areas of law do they practice in?
Contract law refers to any laws or regulations put in place to enforce certain promises. It is primarily regulated by common law in Australia but is increasingly being supplemented by statutes, particularly in relation to consumer protection.
Criminal law refers to laws in place to bring about and enforce criminal sanctions. In Australia, criminal law is generally administered in individual jurisdictions in the Commonwealth. The six states, the Commonwealth and the self-governing territories are all included in the jurisdictions.
Tort law or personal injury law stands to correct a civil wrong, which involves the infringement of any interest, recognised by the law and gives rise to compensation. It aims to protect a person’s interest in their bodily security, tangible property, financial resources or reputation.
Administrative law is the body of law that regulates government decision making.
Industrial law regulates the relations between employers and employees and their representative organisations. It is also referred to as ‘labour law’ or ‘employment law’ and it mediates relationships between trade unions, employers and employees.
Constitutional law is the body of law relating to the interpretation and application of the Constitution of Australia. It defines the relationship of different entities within a state – the executive, the legislature and the judiciary.
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