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Millennials not quite in a majority in the legal profession

28 February 2019

Millennials will soon make up over half of New Zealand's practising lawyers.

New Zealand Law Society information shows that at 1 February 2019, members of the Millennial generation contributed 44% of all New Zealand-based practising lawyers.

Millennials are already in a majority among women lawyers, making up 51%.

While generational labels are often discredited and have rather vague boundaries, they are still commonly used to make generalised observations.

For the purpose of defining generations, the Law Society analysis used pre-1946 birth for the so-called Silent Generation (although some members prefer "Great Generation"), birth between 1946 and 1964 for Baby Boomers, birth from 1965 to 1980 for Generation X, and birth from 1981 to 1995 for Millennials.

Another generation is just starting to emerge in the legal profession. The Gen Z (or iGen or Centennials) people were born from 1996 onwards. So far they make up just 0.1% of lawyers, but they're on their way.

Millennials easily dominate the lawyers working in law firms who are not partners or directors. However, Generation X (also known sometimes as the "latchkey kids") dominates when it comes to partners and directors.

New Zealand-based lawyers by generational grouping, 1 February 2019
GroupWomenMenAll LawyersPartners/DirectorsFirm employees
Millennials51%35%44%14%70%
Generation X36%35%36%52%23%
Baby Boomers13%27%19%33%7%
Silent Generation0.1%3%1%1%0.7%

Last updated on the 16th September 2019