New figures from the Law Society show that male solicitors under 40 are now outnumbered by their female counterparts.
There are 27,160 women solicitors with practising certificates aged under 40, compared with 25,627 men. And, across all ages, women now account for 41 per cent of the profession.
Although I don't have the figures to prove it, my feeling is that in this region at least this figure is probably higher.
Certainly Mills & Reeve in Birmingham receives a higher proportion of applications from female graduates than it does from males. For a lot of men there still seems to be some 'macho' need to work in the capital, despite the fact that increasingly high quality work is now being done outside London.
What's more, the Law Society figures show that female graduates are leaving university with a higher proportion of firsts or upper seconds, so it's not just a question of quantity, but quality too!
My experience is that the legal profession is leading the way with regard to the recruitment of women.
As a property lawyer I work regularly with chartered surveyors, quantity surveyors, architects and mechanical and electrical engineers. These professions remain heavily male dominated. I don't really know why these professions have not attracted such a high proportion of women.
So what is it about the legal profession that has made it so attractive to women? Clearly there is something about the subject and the work itself which appeals to a lot of women.
I also believe that the growth in legal services has prompted law firms to look more closely at how they can adapt their working practices to accommodate women.
It is a fact of life that the burden of childcare continues to fall largely on women. As a firm, and indeed as a profession, we have striven to offer child friendly, flexible working hours to facilitate women returners. The Law Society survey demonstrates that more women work part-time - 21 per cent compared with five per cent of men.
But before we pat ourselves on the back too much and hold ourselves up as a blueprint for other professions, let's explore all the facts.
Worryingly, proportionately fewer women in private practice are partners compared to male solicitors. Just 22 per cent of women solicitors in private practice get their names on the firm's notepaper compared to almost half of men (47 per cent).
Nor is the discrepancy down to the comparative youth of women solicitors: even after equalising for levels of experience, the Law Society figures demonstrate that higher numbers of men still reach partnership.
As women progress some have children, and then choose not to return to work, or to pursue the race for partnership. Most will still want to be considered, and for that larger group the challenge for the firms is to create an environment which will tempt people back, and to have flexible terms for partners which will keep the best women in the firm.
At the same time we must not treat male colleagues unfairly. Some firms, including ours, deal with this by having a clear maternity policy for partners, which includes maternity leave on full profit share, and the possibility of returning to work part time.
The Law Society also reports that women solicitors are earning less than men. The median salary for men is £55,000 a year, while for women it is £37,000.
* Guy Hinchley is managing partner at the Birmingham office of Mills & Reeve