After publishing statistics and information on the New Zealand legal profession in LawTalk throughout 2017, we have decided to revert to bringing them all together into an annual snapshot. Our snapshots – from 2011 to 2016, and now for 2018 – bring together information obtained from a number of sources, including practising certificates issued by the New Zealand Law Society. The objective is to present a picture of New Zealand’s practising lawyers at a point in time. While there are over 750 lawyers with New Zealand practising certificates based overseas, the Snapshot focuses on New Zealand only. Care has been taken to avoid publishing any identifying particulars of individual practitioners.
This year’s Snapshot shows information at 1 February 2018. For the first time ever, the number of female lawyers exceeds the number of male lawyers. The legal profession also continues to grow: there has been a 16% increase in lawyer numbers since our first Snapshot in 2011, when just 44.2% of lawyers were female. Purely by coincidence, the total number of female lawyers holding New Zealand Law Society-issued practising certificates was one ahead of the total number of male lawyers at 1 February 2018.