News that female solicitors now outnumber male solicitors practising in Ireland is another indicator that the makeup of the legal profession is changing dramatically, New Zealand Law Society President Chris Moore says.
“Ireland believes it is the first country in the world where there are more women lawyers practising than men. On current trends it will be just another three years before a majority of New Zealand lawyers are female.”
Mr Moore says that at 1 February 2015 New Zealand had 12,480 lawyers, of whom 53% were male.
“Each year for the last three years, the proportion of New Zealand lawyers who are female has gone up one percent. The gender gap is closing fast,” he says.
“Over 60% of new lawyers each year are women, so we are expecting women to be in a majority in the legal profession in just a few more years.”
Mr Moore says the Law Society is very aware of the need to achieve much more than just a balance of genders in the legal profession.
“The key issue is tackling the still low number of women who have senior roles in the profession. Yes, 47% of all lawyers are now women. But only 24% of partners and directors in multi-lawyer firms, 15% of Queen’s Counsel, and 29% of judges are women.
“The New Zealand Law Society is committed to pursuing practical and constructive solutions to how we can raise the proportion of women who are participants in the most influential sections of our legal profession.”