Legal services employed nearly 100,000 people in Australia, including 5000 barrister businesses and nearly 10,000 employees in government solicitor or public prosecutor roles, legal aid commissions, community legal centres and Aboriginal legal services. Nearly 5000 people also volunteered at community and Aboriginal legal services.
At the end of June 2008, more than 15,000 legal service businesses and organisations were in operation, with barristers accounting for a quarter, while 73 per cent were other legal service businesses, including solicitor, patent attorney, notary, conveyancing and title searching.
Income from legal and legal support services accounted for approximately 91 per cent of all total income, while government funding amounted to a further 6 per cent.
Barristers had higher profit margin, of 73 per cent, relative to other legal services, which amounted to 31 per cent.
It is estimated that during the 2007/08 financial year barristers and other legal services provided 955,400 hours of pro bono work and, in addition, 2,000,000 hours of work was referred by legal aid commissions. This represents an average of 56 hours per practising barrister or solicitor during the financial year.