First fall in solicitors’ numbers for 20 years

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The number of solicitors in the North West has fallen for the first time in more than 20 years.

The drop reflects the overall figure for England and Wales.

In 2012, there were 13,164 practicing solicitors in the North West region. In 2013, that number fell to 13,074.

The latest Annual Statistics Report from the Law Society reveals the first fall in the number of practising solicitors in over 20 years.

According to the report for 2013, the number of practising certificate holders linked to a named organisation on 31 July 2013 decreased by 0.9 per cent to 127,676, compared to July 2012.

The total number of PC holders has almost tripled since the current statistical series began in 1983, but rates of growth have slowed since the late 1990s.

Desmond Hudson, Law Society Chief Executive, said: “Change and competition within the legal sector is intensifying and this is having a major impact on many businesses.

“An improvement in the economy has not yet fed through to all solicitors, and many smaller firms are struggling in the wake of fundamental changes in areas of work such as legal aid, civil justice and family law.

“The Law Society is helping solicitors and their practices adapt to the regulatory and management challenges, so that they can continue to provide high quality legal advice that makes a positive contribution to businesses, the public and the rule of law.”