Survey lifts lid on Australia’s aging legal profession

The number of Australian solicitors continuing to work later in life has skyrocketed, a new survey has found.

Australian solicitors are continuing to work later in life, with the number of solicitors over the age of 65 increasing by over 38 percent since 2011, despite the average age of solicitors remaining the same, a report by the Law Society of New South Wales has found.  

Michael Tidball, CEO of the Law Society of New South Wales, said that while further research needs to be undertaken into exactly why lawyers are choosing to continue working later in life, it is likely that the demand for legal services has played a role in this trend.

“It may be about the income that they have earned and those solicitors needing to work for a longer period; correspondingly it could be that there has been an increase in the demand for legal services and it’s far better to remain in practice,” he said.

Law firms with 40 partners or more have experienced a whopping 300 percent increase, while the number of corporate and government solicitors grew by 22 and 19 percent respectively.

“There is a real desire on part of young people to enter the profession and the profession is highly regarded so that helps to drive growth. Clearly there are also that number of places available and people wanting to join the legal profession,” said Tidball. 

“The challenge for the young lawyer is in a more segmented diverse profession where there is intense competition… is to navigate their way through and find the employment opportunity that will work for them and stimulate them at the start of their career.”

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