Legal system: do we need so many qualified lawyers?

Why do people become lawyers? In my case, as I suspect for many others, it was largely because my parents thought it a good idea. Some may have watched too much LA Law or read too much Rumpole. Quite a few lawyers I know couldn’t think of anything better to do and were attracted by the security and salary on offer. There may have even been the odd one or two inspired by the thought of righting injustices, championing the oppressed and the like. I joke, of course. It’s more like three or four.

Whatever the reason, there are more and more of them. After a 50% growth each decade over the past 50 years, there are now nearly 150,000 people on the roll of solicitors (plus another 45,000 in the various other legal professions), making England and Wales one of the most densely “lawyered” countries in the world. In another 50 years, on current trends, there will be a million solicitors.

To see the rest of my weekly column on the Guardian’s Law website, click here.

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