There are now 140,000 practising solicitors in England and Wales

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Highest figure ever, yet training contracts at top City firms fall

Statistics released by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) show there are now more than 140,000 practising solicitors. This is the highest number ever.

Of the 184,736 solicitors on the roll as of September 2017, a massive 142,515 solicitors were practising. Not only does this stat show there are 23 times more solicitors practising than there are barristers, it also demonstrates the huge growth the solicitor profession has experienced within itself.

Since the summer of 2009, readers can see the profession’s size increase from figures in 110,000s towards the 120,000s, which it reached in September 2010. Though there was a dip back into the teens in January 2011 to March 2011, April 2011 recorded a 120,416 result. It took two more years for the profession to hit 130,000 members, before 140,000 was reached in August 2017. We’re now on 142,515, this latest figure representing an increase of 15,406 or 12% on the number from this time five years ago.

Number of solicitors. Image via SRA

These stats paint a picture of a buoyant, healthy profession — which may come as a shock for a number of reasons.

Not only are there ‘robot lawyer’ scare stories being bandied about, there’s also Brexit. The United Kingdom’s June 2016 decision created uncertainty in the market that some feared may harm solicitor job prospects.

Indeed, the vote to leave has been leaned on in explaining this year’s autumn retention rates, which in general have been poorer than last year. This global uncertainty may also be one reason top corporate law firms have, overall, cut their training contract offerings. Legal Cheek data demonstrates a fall of 5% there.

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Though the impact of Brexit shouldn’t be understated, these SRA stats paint a more positive picture.

The new data shows the number of solicitors has actually increased by 6,917 (5%) since the vote to leave the European Union. And for aspiring solicitors worried about training contract stats, though posts at the top City players may be slightly down, Law Society data shows training contracts numbers across the board are actually up (to 5,728).

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screw you I’m first


If it ain't City, it ain't law

Most of them work for bowel movements like CMS or Weightmans.


Bowel Movement

This is incredibly offensive.



wait until the legal aid whiners see this thread and bleat on about lack of resources blah blah blah… rather work at CMS or Weightmans


Corporate God

If the deal is worth less than 10 figures, those working on it are to be considered support staff only.


Lord Harley

I hope they counted me.



The problem is not the growing number of solicitors. There could be a need for 140,000 but 5 years after the post-Brexit dust has settled the demand will probably be nearer to 40,000.



You’re seriously overstating the effect of Brexit if you think 72% of the demand for legal services is EU dependant.

There were more than 45000 practicing sols in 1984.



The whole country will grind to a halt soon enough. Think Manhattan Island in Escape from New York. Britain is a wasteland full of wastemen.



I agree with you. I don’t even stand up for the national anthem these days. My country disgusts me.



CMS is in a different league to Weightmans.



I agree. You shouldn’t compare rotten apples to rotten pears.



Probably because it’s a lot easier to qualify now than it has been historically. Do the New York bar from the comfort of your sofa, join any high street firm as a paralegal for 2 years and you seem to be able to qualify without a TC.



Except you can’t do the New York Bar from the comfort of your sofa. Funnily enough you have to do the New York Bar in New York and that’s before you factor in the cost, the time commitment and the fact it’s one of the toughest law exams in the world. As for the equivalent means that’s not exactly a walk in the park either.


Legal aid lawyer




Law just ain’t what it used to be.



plus you can no longer practice in the City for 25-30 years and then retire on the proceeds, City solicitors are now working into their 60s; in 10 years time they’ll still be working at 75, if Trump hasn’t precipitated WWIII.


Judge Mental

And in July 2018 I shall be adding to the illustrious roll.


Deed U No

Deed U No:

in the USA there is no TC !


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