The data shared in this snapshot is derived from registry data held by the New Zealand Law Society Te Kāhui Ture o Aotearoa, the regulatory body for legal practice in New Zealand.
The insights shared provide information about demographic trends, diversity within the profession, and the regional dispersal of lawyers throughout New Zealand.
As of 30 June 2022, 16,401 lawyers held a practising certificate, 867 of whom were practising overseas. The number of practising certificates held by lawyers marks the continuation of a steady upward trajectory since the 1970s. The number of lawyers per head of population has increased slightly, with the ratio now at one lawyer per 326 people.
In the same period, there were 1,917 barrister practising certificates. This means barristers represent 11.7% of practising lawyers and just 0.036% of the New Zealand population.
Also continuing an upward trend is the number of female lawyers in the profession. Fifty-four per cent of all practising lawyers have responded as being female. It is expected that this figure will continue to increase as the proportion of lawyers in the 0-7 PQE group that responded as female is much higher than the average, at 63.5%.
The pattern of ethnic diversity in the profession still points to a continued need for an increase in Māori and Pasifika lawyers to improve representation within these communities. The most significant increase in ethnic diversity is amongst Asian lawyers. Representation in this community has increased by 8.9% since the last snapshot.
View the 2022 snapshot.