Solicitor numbers down while barrister numbers up
The number of practising solicitors declined last year while the number of practising barristers increased, according to the latest report from the Legal Services Regulatory Authority (LSRA).
There were a total of 11,413 solicitors with practising certificates on 31 December 2021, a decrease of 441 (four per cent) from 2020. This represents the second annual drop in the number of practising certificates since 2009.
Meanwhile, the number of practising barristers stood at 2,933, an increase of 110 (four per cent) from the previous year. Of these, nearly three-quarters (74 per cent) were members of the Law Library.
The figures are included in the LSRA’s third annual report on admissions, which examines a 12-month period dominated by Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic.
Writing in the report, the LSRA said: “The impact of the pandemic was not experienced uniformly across all sectors of the domestic economy nor within the legal services sector. Its effect was felt to differing degrees by solicitors and barristers depending on a range of factors including area of practice and, for solicitors, firm size.
“By the second quarter of 2021 there were signs of general recovery in employment rates and earnings across a range of economic sectors, including all professions. The year also saw the return of some optimism and confidence among law firms, with the re-emergence of reported staff recruitment and retention challenges among large Dublin law firms.”