Women make up nearly half of the Quebec Bar’s roll

By 2021 more than half of lawyers in Quebec will be women, reveals the latest annual report of Quebec’s legal society.

At present, women already make up nearly half of the Bar’s Roll of Order, with 11,838 members or 49 per cent of membership, the highest percentage in North America. On average women practising the profession are younger and have less experience than men. The 12,301 men who are currently practising are around 48 years old and have 21.6 years of experience, compared with women who are 41, with 14 years of experience.

Young lawyers, those with less than 10 years of experience, represents 35 per cent of the total membership, according to the Barreau du Québec’s 2011-2012 annual report published earlier this month. And that’s where women are gaining ground on men — women make up 61 per cent of young lawyers.

How and where women practice also differs from men. More than half of men, or 52 per cent, work in private practice, 16 per cent in the public sector and nine per cent in the private sector such as in-house counsel for companies. Women, on the other hand, shun private practice. Barely one-third or 32 per cent work in private practice. Nearly a quarter, or 23 per cent, work in the public sector, 12 per cent in the private sector, and a staggering 30 per cent are on either parental leave or sabbatical or studying.

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