But training contract numbers remain static since last year
More aspiring lawyers started their training contract in London last year than in the rest of the country, according to the Law Society.
New stats show that of the 5,719 aspiring solicitors who commenced their legal training between 2016-17, over a third (1,923) did so in the City of London. Meanwhile, a further 18% (1,002) started their life as a trainee in the “rest of London”, the Law Society’s Annual Statistical Report says. This means over half (52%) of all new trainee solicitors in 2016 have learned the legal ropes in the capital.
Away from London, 11% of newbies were based in the North West, 7% in the South East and 6% in Yorkshire and Humberside. Just 3% (175) trained in the East Midlands and 3% (159) in Wales.
The figures, although interesting, are perhaps unsurprising. A quick glance at our Firms Most List shows that big corporate players take in trainees in their droves every year. At Linklaters, for example, around 110 City-based training contract positions are available annually. Just 17% more than that, 129, started training contracts in 2016 in the whole of the North East of England.
Location aside, the number of new trainees registering in 2016-17 fell by 0.2%, from 5,728 to 5,719. Of these new starters, 38% were male and 62% were female.
The report notes that training numbers hit a high of 6,300 in 2007-8, before dipping as low as 4,869 following the 2008 financial crash. The numbers have recovered gradually, the report says:
“The growth over recent years has been due to increased numbers of female trainees. The share of male trainees fell to 37.7% in 2017 as male numbers edged lower while female registrations showed a slight increase.”
A whopping 35,500 students applied for undergraduate law degrees in 2017 (up 4% on 2016), with 23,605 eventually accepting places. A rise in the number of female students accepted onto law courses (6%) accounted for almost all of the growth: earlier this year, we revealed new female law students outnumbered males two to one.
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