The legal profession is always changing. That’s why it’s worth keeping track of what’s happening across the legal sector because it will help you when deciding on a career in law. Having an idea of how many successful applications there are to study law at university, how many law graduates go on to have a career in the legal profession, and how many hours solicitors and barristers work will help to prepare you for your journey into law.

 

How Many Barristers In The UK?

The most up to date data from the Bar Standards Board (BSB) shows that as of 2021, there were 17,263 actively practising barristers in England and Wales.

How Many Chartered Legal Executive Lawyers In The UK?

According to official CILEX figures, there are Chartered Legal Executive Lawyers approximately 7,500  practising across England and Wales, 250 of which are partners in law firms.

Number Of Training Contracts and Pupillages Available

 SolicitorsBarristers
Number of TCs/Pupillages Available (2021/2022)5,500435
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How Many Solicitors Firms Are There In The UK?

The latest data from the SRA shows that, as of October 2022, there are 9,636 regulated solicitors’ firms in the UK ranging from sole practitioners to huge firms with a global presence and thousands of lawyers.

How Many Barristers’ Chambers Are There In The UK?

The number of barristers’ chambers in England and Wales is approximately 750, according to Bar Council statistics. Just over half of all chambers are based in London.

Law Firm Statistics

According to Thomson Reuters, the demand for lawyers grew by 8.7% in 2021 compared with 2020. Law firms have particular academic levels, skills set and attributes that they look for in new recruits.

  • 76% of UK law firms would prefer to hire trainees from Oxbridge and Russell Group Universities
  • Most law firms want their new recruits to have a minimum of a 2:1 degree
  • 88% of law firms want to see more diversity
  • 63.2% of law firms say that ‘Commercial Awareness’ is a top attribute

Law At University Statistics

University Applications For Law Courses

2021/22 saw a record year for the number of students applying for law courses and legal graduates, according to Law Society statistics.

 UKInternational Total
Number of law applications to university in the UK (2021-22)31,5859,33040,915
Number of law students accepted to university in the UK (2021-22)21,6504,64026,290
Percentage of successful applications (2021-22)68.5%49.7%64.3%

The number of legal graduates in law across England and Wales for the 2021-22 academic year reached a record high 18,927. 27% of graduates achieved a first-class degree while 55% recorded a 2:1 degree.

Law Training Course Statistics

Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE)

 CandidatesPass Percentage
Number of candidates sitting SQE1 (2022)1,82953%
Number of candidates sitting SQE2 (2022)72677%

Of the SQE applications made, 70% were from UK applicants and just over 25% were from outside the European Union.

Bar Practice Course (BPC)

 CandidatesPass Percentage
Number of candidates sitting the BPC in Civil Litigation (2022)1,51759.6%
Number of candidates sitting the BPC in Criminal Litigation (2022)1,65363.7%

CILEX Professional Qualification (CPQ)

 CandidatesPass Percentage
Number of candidates sitting CPQ Foundation assessments (2022)29483%
Number of candidates sitting CPQ Advanced assessments (2022)Undisclosed57%
Number of candidates sitting CPQ Professional assessments (2022)1,636Pass percentage varies depending on area of law

Legal Practice Course (LPC)

LPC places available (2021-22)11,021
Offers made12,962
Rejections 1,479
Enrolment6,415
Unfilled places4,447
Average utilisation rate58%
Rejection/Offers11.4%

For the 2021/22 academic year, 26 member institutions guaranteed the availability of up to 11,021 full time places on a Legal Practice Course. In 2021, there was no sign of providers leaving the LPC market or replacing LPC courses with SQE offerings, according to Law Cabs.

Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL)

LPC places available (2021-22)5,574
Offers made10,002
Rejections 1,258
Enrolment3,607
Unfilled places1,924
Average utilisation rate65%
Rejection/Offers12.6%

According to Law Cabs, 26 member institutions made 5,574 places available on a GDL course. Although the GDL will no longer be a formal step for non-law graduates to qualify as a solicitor, demand for conversion courses is likely to continue both for SQE candidates who have undertaken no previous formal law studies and for candidates for barrister qualification.

Average Working Hours

Average working hours across the legal profession vary depending on the type of law career, the area of law in which you practise, the law firm you’re employed by, and the region in which you work.

Average Barrister Hours UK (By Region)

Average Solicitor Hours UK (By Region)

Decide On Law

To further help your decision to pursue a career in law, see our dedicated page.

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