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Training contract numbers soar to highest level since financial crash

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Places up two years on the bounce for the first time since the financial crash

The number of training contracts registered across England and Wales has risen by almost 5% since last year, according to new figures released today.

The Law Society’s annual statistics report shows that training contract numbers jumped from 5,457 to 5,728 in 2015-16, an increase of 271 (4.6%). This is the first time training contract numbers have risen two years on the bounce since the financial crisis.

In 2008, training contract numbers went from a pre-crash high of 6,303 to just 4,784 the following year. With overall figures continuing to fluctuate post-crash — dropping to 5,001 in 2013-14 and then increasing to 5,457 in 2014-15 — today’s continued growth will come as welcome news for wannabe lawyers.

Aside from TC numbers, the annual report also considers those studying law at university, and reveals that women continue to outperform their male peers.

Accounting for 63% law graduates last year (10,133), 13% (1,347) of women bagged a first, compared to just 12% of men (683). Continuing their dominance in the job market, women snapped up 62% (3,566) of the training contacts registered last year, while men managed 38% (2,162).

Elsewhere, the new stats reveal that the number of Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) solicitors rose to 16% in 2016 and has more than doubled over the past 15 years. Over 136,000 solicitors currently hold a valid practising certificate: 11,090 are Asian, 1,709 are Chinese, and 2008 identify as African. However, it’s worth noting over half of those admitted to the roll in the 12 months to July 2016 did not submit ethnicity data, so these stats have limits.

Commenting on the BAME stats specifically, Law Society president Robert Bourns said:

Increasing diversity in the solicitor profession is a powerful force for good and a cause for real celebration. Not only do solicitors themselves come from an ever widening pool — reflecting the diverse society of which we are part and which we serve — but new business models are flourishing, allowing us to provide an ever more tailored service to our clients.

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