Number of law graduates hits record high

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By Aishah Hussain on


Some 18,927 students graduated with law degrees last year, while the number of solicitors on the roll also hit unprecedented levels

Record numbers of students graduated with law degrees last year, while the number of solicitors on the roll also reached an all-time high, new statistics released this week by the Law Society have shown.

The number of students graduating with first degrees in law from universities in England and Wales in 2021 was the highest on record at 18,927. The Law Society’s Annual Statistics Report (ASR) 2021 shows over a quarter (27%) of these graduates achieved a first and 55% a 2.1 degree.

Meanwhile, a record number has also been reported for solicitors on the roll reaching 209,215, an increase of 3% from the year before.

The report, which has been compiled for over 30 years to show how the size and structure of the solicitors’ profession has evolved, found the number of trainee registrations dropped by 2% to 5,495 — the lowest in the past five years.

However, the number of those admitted to the roll was the highest on record over the past decade, reaching 6,981.

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Elsewhere, the representation of Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds continued to grow, reaching 18% of those with known ethnicity.

Roughly a quarter of solicitors with practising certificates work in-house. This figure has steadily increased by 1% on average each year but, as the report states, is “a likely underestimate as some [practising certificate] holders are not officially recorded as working in-house”.

Law Society president I. Stephanie Boyce, who herself works as an in-house lawyer, said: “[I]t is encouraging to see solicitors employed in-house by organisations, ranging from FTSE and private companies to local authorities now make up a quarter of the profession.”

The ASR provides a snapshot of the profession as at 31 July each year.

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