For Lawyers in Victoria

Country of birth

78% of lawyers who responded to this question were born in Australia. This was followed by the United Kingdom, Malaysia, New Zealand and China.

Ancestry

The majority of lawyers report either Australian or European ancestry. The top reported ancestries are:

  • 45% Australian
  • 23% English
  • 11% Irish
  • 9% Scottish
  • 8% Italian
  • 5% Chinese
  • 5% Greek
  • 3% Indian

Languages spoken

22% of lawyers report speaking languages other than English. Lawyers report speak 150 different languages. The top languages spoken are:

  • Italian
  • Mandarin
  • Greek
  • French
  • Cantonese
  • German
  • Spanish
  • Arabic
  • Hindi
  • Vietnamese

Data on cultural diversity within the Victorian legal profession has been collected by the Victorian Legal Services Board and Commissioner and released for the first time.

This follows a request from Law Institute of Victoria President Sam Pandya to include cultural diversity questions within the annual practising certificate renewal process.

VLSB+C CEO and Commissioner Fiona McLeay said the information will soon be available on their website to assist the public to choose a lawyer from a culturally appropriate background if they would like to.  

”Our register of lawyers helps consumers of legal services to make informed decisions before they engage a lawyer. By including information about languages spoken and ancestry, as well as the areas of practice a lawyer specialises in, consumers will have even better information to make choices about the right lawyer to support them.”

LIV President Sam Pandya, the first LIV President with Indian heritage in its 160 year history, said he had lobbied the Law Council of Australia, law societies and the regulators to survey cultural diversity with the aim of better understanding the ethnic and cultural make-up of the legal profession and being able to develop initiatives to advance diversity at all levels.

“The data is the first step in measuring and monitoring whether the legal profession represents the diverse community we serve and in improving access to diverse legal representation for the benefit of clients and the whole community,” Mr Pandya said.

Of the 24,495 registered lawyers in Victoria, over 17,000 provided information about their Country of Birth and Ancestry, while nearly 5,500 reported speaking languages other than English.

Countries were represented from across the globe from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, with 78% of those who responded being Australian born.

Many survey respondents identified as multi lingual. Lawyers identified 150 languages other than English spoken, with the most common languages spoken being Italian, Mandarin and Greek.

Most survey respondents identified as having Australian ancestry, followed by English, Irish, Italian and Chinese.

The LIV has also surveyed law students and trainees to obtain information about cultural diversity in prospective lawyers.