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SolicitorAlternative titles


This job is sometimes referred to as:

Corporate/Government Solicitor
Legal Counsel
Patent Attorney

Solicitors carry out legal work on behalf of clients, including giving legal advice and studying the details of legal arguments.

Contact us

Call us on 0800 222 733

What are the chances of getting a job?


Chances of getting a job as a solicitor are poor for those wanting to enter the role, but good for those with more than two years’ experience.

The number of solicitors has grown by 5% between March 2010 and March 2012. Because it is a large occupation, gaining a job as a solicitor is good for those with experience.

However the number of graduates greatly exceeds the number of entry-level solicitor jobs available, so competition for entry-level solicitor positions is high.

Opportunities depend on what area of law you specialise in

Company/commercial law is the largest area of law, with over 17% of all solicitors spending at least half their time in this area. Company/commercial law, civil litigation and insolvency are experiencing growth, so more vacancies arise in these areas.

However, areas of law such as property, employment and conveyancy have experienced a decline, and vacancies are limited.

Higher demand for solicitors in rural areas

Small rural law firms often find it hard to fill vacancies when workers leave or retire, so you may find it easier to get work in rural areas.

Types of employers varied

Solicitors may work for:

  • general legal firms
  • government departments
  • boutique law firms, which specialise in a particular area of law
  • real estate agencies
  • companies (as in-house counsel).


    Department of Labour, 2003-2010 Occupation Data (prepared for Careers New Zealand), 2011.
  • New Zealand Law Society, 'Legal Salary Survey 2011,' accessed February 2012, (www.lawsociety.org.nz).
  • New Zealand Law Society, 'Snapshot of the NZ Legal Profession', accessed March 2012, (www.lawsociety.org.nz).

Current vacancies

Legal Executive/Solicitor Listed: 16 Dec 2014 Canterbury
Solicitor - Auckland or Wellington position Listed: 09 Dec 2014 Wellington
Personal assistant for Real Estate Principal. Listed: 28 Nov 2014 Northland
Senior Legal Counsel Listed: 19 Dec 2014 Wellington
Legal Secretary/Personal Assistant Listed: 17 Dec 2014 Otago
Legal positions – Auckland Listed: 17 Dec 2014 Otago
Administrative Assistant - Law Office Listed: 16 Dec 2014 Waikato

Other vacancy websites

Progression and specialisations

Solicitors may go into sole practice or work towards becoming an associate or a partner of the firm they work for.

Solicitors may specialise in areas such as:

  • Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) law
  • administrative/public law
  • banking and finance law
  • criminal law
  • employment law
  • environmental law
  • family law
  • tax law.

Solicitors may also specialise as a:

Corporate/Government Lawyer
Corporate or government lawyers are lawyers who work in-house for the government or a company. They do not work for different companies, instead dealing only with the matters of their employer.
Patent Attorney
Solicitors can choose to specialise in intellectual property by sitting a series of exams through the New Zealand Intellectual Property Office (IPONZ).

How many people are doing this job?

Year 2012
Year 2011
Year 2010
Source: Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, '2003-2012 Occupation Data' (prepared for Careers New Zealand), 2012.

Phena Byrne reading a law textbook

Job opportunities for solicitors are good for those with more than two years' experience

Updated 5 Dec 2014