Ashburton, Kaikohe, Havelock North and Queenstown have shown the biggest percentage increase in lawyers over the last seven years.
The New Zealand Law Society has published a Snapshot of the Legal Profession in the March issue of its magazine LawTalk.
Since the first Snapshot was published in 2011 there has been an increase of 16.4% in the number of New Zealand-based lawyers. Much of this growth has been driven by Auckland, with an additional 1236 lawyers moving into practice there since 2011. Auckland has almost 44% of all New Zealand-based lawyers, and numbers there have increased by 27% since 2011.
Lawyer numbers in Ashburton have increased by 65% to 38 lawyers since 2011, followed by Kaikohe (up 55% to 17 lawyers), Havelock North (up 50% to 12), Queenstown (up 44% to 88) and Tauranga (up 41% to 314).
There are eight centres where lawyer numbers have fallen since 2011. These are led by Alexandra (down 24% to 13 lawyers), Upper Hutt (down 23% to 24), Orewa (down 17% to 15), Porirua (down 13% to 52) and Kerikeri (down 7% to 25).
The Law Society says Wellington has the highest number of lawyers per head of population, with one lawyer for every 84 people. This is driven by the large number of lawyers working in government, and 40% of New Zealand's in-house lawyers are based in Wellington.
Overall, there were 13,087 New Zealand-based lawyers at 1 February 2018, giving one lawyer for every 371 New Zealanders.
Queenstown (one lawyer for 119 people), Kerikeri (1:226), Kaikohe (1:260), Warkworth (1:272) and Auckland (1:273) also have relatively high proportions of lawyers.
Kawerau, with one lawyer per 3351 people has the lowest proportion of lawyers to people, followed by Opotiki (1:2135), Huntly (1:2025), Motueka (1:1871) and Tokoroa (1:1785).