History made: The number of law school applications from women is now over DOUBLE the number of applications from men

Exclusive: Female first years likely to outnumber men two to one

For the first time ever, females applying to study law at university now outnumber men two to one.

As of UCAS deadline day this year (24 March), 130,640 applications were made to study law (individuals can make multiple applications). Of those, 87,780 (67%) were made by women. Just 42,860 (33%) were made by men.

The number of female-made applications has been steadily on the up for years. It rose by 5,330 (6%) — approximately the number of training contracts available each year — since 2016 alone. Looking back even further, the rise since 2013 is a whopping 15,300 (21%).

By contrast, the number of applications made by men has stagnated, teetering around the 42,000 mark for four years now.

It’s worth spelling out that this data is only concerned with the number of law degree applications, not the number of law degree students. This year’s stats on this are yet to be released (because the 2016-17 academic year isn’t over), but a quick scan of 2016 figures show law schools are heavily dominated by women — but not quite at a two to one ratio.

Last year, 25,050 aspiring lawyers accepted offers to study law. Just shy of two thirds of these (16,590, 66%) were women, 8,460 (34%) were men. The percentage of applications made by women in that year was the same as the number of female acceptances (66%). Could 2017 be the year female law students begin to outnumber male law students two to one? It’s looking likely.

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55 Comments

Anonymous

Nowhere in this article does Katie say that this is good/bad. She is reporting the data, something it is worthwhile to know. I suggest that the insecurities are yours alone and maybe don’t project them onto Katie?

(31)(19)
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Concerned fellow

Hi Katie. You seem like a reasonably bright young girl. After your failure to secure a TC, surely you could have devoted your time to something more worthwhile than endlessly moaning about diversity?

(18)(13)
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Jones Day Junior Associate

Don’t be so mean to Katie. She actually sounds like a really nice person and she also has a nice smile. She even volunteered at Oxfam for 6 months. I’m sure she will have no problem securing a TC if she puts her mind to it – she didn’t graduate that long ago.

(16)(7)
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Anonymous

What is worrying is that the proportion of women who study law does not reflect the proportion of women who make it into senior positions as barristers or solicitors.

(5)(9)
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almosthippy

No need to say more, but you need to read more:

“It’s worth spelling out that this data is only concerned with the number of law degree applications, not the number of law degree students.”

She even put the ‘applications’ in italics to make it harder to skip over.

(0)(0)
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Just Anonymous

And if the genders were reversed, the story would be this:

Universities are such male dominated, sexist institutions, catering for men and lad culture, that women are put off applying, etc

(3)(0)
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Kra--G-le

One wonders if in a couple of decades men will be a rarity in the profession, as has become the case in HR and primary school teaching…

(2)(3)
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Anonymous

Far more likely to be as a result of girls outperforming boys at school in the first place given that admission to law courses often requires better grades than other courses. The right place to focus your attention would be on closing this gap, not boo-hooing about how unfair it is that women are actually outperforming men in a formerly male-dominated sector.

(4)(2)
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Anonymous

Except it’s the total applications which we’re talking about here, not the successful applications. As the article points out, a greater proportion of men are actually successful in their law apps than women.

(0)(0)
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Not Amused

Identity politics is as bad as any tribalism

Angry people looking to demonize and attack whole swathes of their fellow human beings on the basis of arbitrary lines.

There is a crisis in male educational attainment. That should be the focus.

(9)(2)
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Tim

While this is good, the real challenge is getting into the law firms, where posh white males have historically ran their rigid self-protectionism racket.

Aggressive positive discrimination and quotas, that really frighten these males, are required and ought to be further extended to Deaf and disabled applicants too.

Otherwise, the legal system will be held in deep and deserved contempt.

The reason progress has been so slow on diversity is because a lot of these posh white males are Tory-voting social Darwinists who presume themselves to be the “fittest” and are keeping everybody else, however talented, in their “place.”

Time for change. A lot. The more these posh white males don’t like it, the surer you can be that the correct changes are being put into place.

(6)(29)
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Tim

Normally I would object to people pretending to be me, but this comment from counterfeit “Tim” is satisfactory.

It is indeed disablist to try to slap down Deaf people who call for more diversity in the legal profession.

If this profession wants to salvage some credibility, it had better get its act together on diversity.

Sorry for the “trolling,” troll profession.

(2)(14)
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Left-is-best

Totally agree. I used to be one of these tory voting posh white kids, now I have changed (my political stance, not my gender or skin colour – not that there would be anything wrong with it if I did do not, but I don’t want to do that. I would do anything for Corbyn… but I won’t do that, no I won’t do that).

(0)(7)
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Anonymous

Is it just me who finds it weird that Legal Cheek constantly refers to “law school” when they actually mean law at uni? For me ‘law school’ is a very American expression which denotes three years of post-grad intensive high level study, whereas over here we either stress out for three years at undergrad or mooch about on sub-par GDL courses thinking we sound trans-Atlantic and sophisticated referring to it as “law school”. I object.

(22)(0)
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Anonymous

“Intensive high level study” lel

I studied at a T14 law school in the US on (on exchange from an RG uni) and found it to be a complete piece of piss compared to my LLB in the UK.

(3)(1)
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Anonymous

The Americans do have a habit of making much of nothing. Note: their drinking culture.

‘Whoa, Tod got a keg for the party? A whole keg between 50 people?’

(0)(0)
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Anonymous

The mix of having much higher than norm entry requirements and it being an essay based degree means law will attract more eligible female applications than men. It might be “history made” (surely a little too hyperbole though?) but this isn’t surprising to anyone who has been studied or worked within law for the past 10-15 years.

(1)(2)
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Another man

I think that is a little unfair. Both have suitable trainee roles. Female trainee greets the clients, male trainee carries in the files, etc.

(11)(3)
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Anonymous

Unsurprising. All of my recently completed LPC classes and PSC courses were between 60% – 80% female (depending on the topic).

(1)(3)
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Degree from North of the Wall

When I started the degree it was about a 55/45 mix female to male. By the time the DPLP came around, it was probably about 60-65% female.

Law has historically been the playground of men (of the pale, well off variety…) however I think this is evidence of a shift in attitudes towards the profession. Not to mention that generally speaking, girls have their heads screwed on earlier than guys… I think a more reflective statistic would be the percentage of those actually studying law, those that earn a degree, and those entering the profession. Applications don’t really mean anything in themselves.

(2)(3)
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Anonymous

So many insecure and inadequate men on Legal Cheek!

If you’re a young man studying/starting out in law this female majority is good career news. Women in the law are smart, personable, emotionally grounded and generally make better colleagues and better bosses. And when they fall out with colleagues or clients it’s usually with other women.

Rejoice!

(2)(7)
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Barry M

This is wonderful news, but there’s still a LONG way to go before we achieve true gender equality. I for one won’t rest until women outnumber men 10 to 1 throughout the profession.

(1)(0)
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