It has probably been the case for years, but I was really interested to read this article by Emily Hinkley in Legal Cheek: ‘Twice as many women as men apply to study law‘.
What interested me though wasn’t the fact that more women than men are applying to study law – that should be a given when you take on board that there are now more women than men in the profession (just don’t look at the ratio of male to female equity partners), but rather the overall numbers.
According to Hinkley’s article, which draws on third-party data provided by criminal defence firm Lawtons, 155,440 students applied to study law last year – of which 103,575 were female and 51,865 were male.
Leaving aside, for a second, that these numbers are students applying to study law rather than actually studying law, let’s put some perspective on this:
- 155,440 students applied to study law last year (1 year window), for a profession where
- the total number of solicitors on the role was 220,455 – of which only 157,437 were designated as “practising”.
My Take: We have reached parity here where there are an equal number of people applying to study law each year as there are actual lawyers on the role.
So if you are someone looking to study law in the next few years, can I advise that you take a step back and think this through:
- We have 4 generations currently practising law – which comes with it’s own issues – and yet there are [very soon] going to be more people applying to study law than there are jobs.
Do you really want to incur that student debt?
As usual comments are my own.
Photo credit goes to Dillon Kydd on Unsplash
2 Replies to “Before taking on that student debt – look at the number of lawyers!”
Massive shortages of lawyers continue in fact…
People on the ground know this and are far too busy helping people short-handed to be discouraging students.
What would be more helpful would be universities actually teaching people how to be genuinely useful, rather than how to pass a course.
P.S. Does not a student loan get paid off over time as the person’s income rises?
“P.S. Does not a student loan get paid off over time as the person’s income rises?”
In Australia I believe that is the case Rob, although the same is not true elsewhere.
It does however make the assumption that a person’s income will increase as a result of having a law degree, which may not be an unreasonable assumption but there a some I know with law degrees (and associated student debt) who cannot get jobs other than as paralegals.