In-house lawyer ranks continue to grow

by Sol Dolor10 Mar 2018

The number of in-house lawyers in the country continues to grow.

According to the latest data from the New Zealand Law Society, 21.6% or 2,884 New Zealand-based lawyers, are working in in-house teams. This is compared to 21.2% in 2015, 19.3% in 2010, and 18.7% in 2005.

Female lawyers outnumber male lawyers in the sector, with 61.4% of all in-house lawyers in the country being female.

Overall, in-house lawyers have been in practice for an average of 15 years and two months. Male in-house lawyers averaged 16 years and two months in practice, while female lawyers averaged 14 years and five months.

The government and commercial enterprise sectors remained the top employers of in-house lawyers, employing 51.4% and 34.8% of the group, respectively. They are followed by local government (4.7%), other sectors (4.1%), community law (3.3%), and academic (1.7%).

Since the government sector is the biggest employer of in-house lawyers, the group is predominantly based in Wellington, with the city being home to 47.9% of the group. The city is followed by Lower Hutt (33.3%), Auckland (20%), Hamilton (16.5%), and Napier (16%).

Apart from several exceptions, in-house lawyers tend to work in small teams. They are spread across 906 separate offices, which means the average number of in-house lawyers per office is 3.2.


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