Law Society Urge Law Firms To Improve Trainee Salaries

The Law Society has urged all legal firms to adapt their trainee solicitor pay scales so that they fall in line with minimum rates of pay suggested by The Law Society.

Following the Solicitors Regulatory Authority’s (SRA) summer release on trainee salaries, The Law Society have suggested that minimum salaries should increase by 2.6% for trainee solicitors; this would mean that the average starting salary would become £19,619 across the country and £22,121 in London.

The SRA abolished its minimum trainee salary standards in 2014. Since then, the average starting salary for a trainee solicitor has fallen by £560 per year. These figures were based on a substantial data size of 33,000 trainee solicitors between 2011 and 2016.

Despite these figures, SRA research also suggests that more trainees (83%) are happy with the salary they receive in 2016 compared with only 55% of respondents in 2012.

According to Prospects advice on licensed conveyancer salary scales, a trainee’s salary can start from anywhere between £16,000 and £24,000, depending on the skills, qualifications previously obtained, size of firm and a firm’s location.

However, this means that some trainee conveyancers are working £3,619 below the national average; this also equates to £3,059 less than the average loss conveyed by SRA statistics.

Christina Blacklaws, Law Society president, said: “Entry to the profession should be on merit and nobody should face unnecessary financial barriers.

“I urge all law firms to adopt this recommendation for their trainees, which represents a fair salary, and to consider how else they can contribute to greater social mobility to the benefit of their business, society and the profession.

“Our vision is of a profession in which all solicitors – present and aspiring – can be confident that talent, ability and application are rewarded irrespective of background, gender or ethnicity.”

Amy Clowrey, Junior Lawyers Division, commented: “The JLD is concerned that firms are not paying their trainee solicitors a fair rate.

“We welcome the ongoing support of the Law Society on such an important issue. Access to the profession should be based on merit alone.

“There has been a fall in average pay and the gender pay gap has widened since the minimum salary for trainee solicitors was scrapped, according to data published by the SRA in 2018.

“25% of trainees are paid below the Law Society’s recommended minimum levels according to a recent survey*.

“The JLD urges all employers to pay the Law Society’s recommended minimum salary. This will ensure that talented junior lawyers are not deterred from the profession because of financial barriers.”

Paul Philip, SRA Chief Executive, said: “Given the value of legal services to the UK and significant unmet legal need, it is encouraging that the number of trainees continues to grow and that they are more positive about their futures.

“Although the pay gap between different ethnic groups has reduced since the removal of the minimum salary, it is disappointing that the data again highlights that Black and Asian solicitors are more likely to work in firms that pay less. We will continue to work with others to increase diversity in all types of firms and at all stages in a solicitor’s career.”

Do you support the minimum standard suggested by The Law Society? Or, are there justifiable reasons for a lower training salary?

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