[UK] Almost A Third Of Trainee Solicitors Earn Less Than Law Society Minimum

17 FEB 2020

New research has revealed that the number of trainee solicitors being paid beneath the Law Society’s minimum salary recommendation is on the rise, Legal Cheek reports.

Legal recruiter Douglas Scott discovered that 30 per cent of trainees across England and Wales were being paid less than the recommended levels set by the Law Society. This represents an increase of five percentage points since last year.

The Law Society currently recommends that trainees are paid a minimum of £22,121 in London and £19,619 outside the capital. But the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) reportedly scrapped minimum pay requirements for young lawyers in 2014, making the guidance completely unenforceable meaning firms can and do ignore it. (Link via original reporting)

The research also found that more than a third - 35 per cent - of regional trainees were being paid below the Society’s recommended minimum, up by nine percentage points from 2019.

16 per cent of trainees in London - where they can earn as much as £60,000 - said they were paid a figure under what the Law Society deemed fair. Down from 17 per cent in 2019.

Jonathan Nolan - associate director at Douglas Scott - said, 'In all likelihood, this story is being played out in high street, regional and rural law firms; reform and the slashing of public funding means the money just isn’t there in some circumstances. Born of necessity rather than exploitation. It would be interesting to hear otherwise.'