Current Demographics in Large Corporate Law Firms in South Africa

Publication Type:

Journal Article


African Journal of Legal Studies, Volume 7, p.587–594 (2014)




By contrast with the judges and the advocates, the issue of race and gender representivity in the attorneys segment of the legal profession generally and in large corporate law firms specifically has not received significant attention, in part due to the lack of accurate statistics and a thin research tradition. Addressing the gap, a 2013 survey investigated the demographics of legal professionals in large corporate law firms in South Africa. The chief finding of the survey is that South Africa’s major corporate law firms are still dominated by white men, especially in their upper echelons. Further, nearly half of the African women professionally employed in large corporate law firms (48.1%) are candidate attorneys, which is to say non-admitted legal professionals. These findings are consistent with the few earlier studies that have been conducted and indicate the need for further detailed research into the social dynamics of the African legal profession

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