New Zealand Law Society - Diversity in the legal profession: At a glance

Diversity in the legal profession: At a glance

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The demographic makeup of New Zealand’s legal profession continues to change. While the proportion of women and men practising law now reflects that of our society, the ethnic makeup of the profession still lags behind that of the national population. The information provided here is intended to give an overview of the New Zealand legal profession in mid-2019.

Information has been analysed to give a quick picture of New Zealand-based lawyers by the time since their admission, the nature of their work and their location. Information used draws upon the gender and ethnicity details provided by lawyers to the Law Society.

The Law Society has introduced a “Gender Diverse” option for lawyers who do not want to be identifed as either female or male. Because of the very low number of lawyers selecting it, this option has not been included in the analysis for privacy reasons. Information on lawyers selecting two of the available ethnicities has also been included in the “Other Pacific Peoples” category because of the low numbers involved.

The information used for these graphs is the number of New Zealand-based lawyers who held a practising certificate at 1 July 2019. The total number is down on the number at 1 February used in our annual Snapshot of the Profession. This is because over 6% of lawyers did not renew their practising certificates for the new practising year. This is a normal occurrence and numbers are expected to rise.

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