More New Zealand lawyers spend some time practising company and commercial law than any other area of law.
New Zealand Law Society analysis of information provided by lawyers on their areas of practice shows that 48% of lawyers practice company and commercial law at least some of the time.
The next-most practised field is property law (39% of all lawyers), followed by civil litigation (36%), trusts and estates (33%) and family law (27%).
New Zealand lawyers are asked to estimate the time they spend practising in each of 23 different areas of law.
When it comes to areas where lawyers specialise (ie, spend over 50% of their time), company and commercial law is still top, with 13% of all lawyers specialising in the field. This is followed by property law (11%), civil litigation (10%), family law (7%) and criminal law (6%).
Women are far more likely to specialise in family law. While company and commercial law is the top specialist area for women, with 11.7% of all women lawyers, family law is close behind, with 11.3% of all women lawyers.
The top specialist area of law for men is company and commercial law (14.3% of all male lawyers), followed by property law (11.7%). Only 3.4% of male lawyers specialise in family law.
Analysis of practice areas by number of years’ experience shows that the average lawyer who specialises in property law has been a lawyer for 25 years. This is followed by arbitration (23.8 years) and mediation (23.6 years).
The area of law where lawyers specialising have been in practice for the lowest number of years is immigration law, with immigration specialists having been in practice for an average of 13.5 years. This is followed by in-house counsel (14.7 years) and Treaty of Waitangi/Maori issues (16.5 years).
The average New Zealand lawyer has been in practice for 18 years.
Barristers are most likely to specialise in civil litigation, with 20% of New Zealand barristers specialising. This is followed by criminal law (19%) and family law (15%).
Details of all the areas of practice are available here.