North South divide highlighted by further slip in Trainee Solicitor Salaries

Posted in Latest News on 31 Jan 2018

38% of all Trainee Solicitors are being paid below Law Society recommended levels, according to research.

This has increased from 12 months ago, when 35% were being paid under the threshold and in 2016 when the rate was 31%.   

However, conditions for London-based trainees have improved with only 1 in 5 being paid below the recommended minimum £21,732 salary compared to 1 in 4 in January 2017.

In contrast, 41% of Trainee Lawyers based in the regions are being paid under the Law Society recommended minimum of £19,093 which is an increase of 4% compared to 12 months ago. 

Large regional variations exist as Trainee Solicitors based in Wales and the North East of England are six times more likely to be paid under the minimum recommended salary than their peers in the South East and South West of England.

The average contracted week for trainees is unchanged at 37.5 hours but actual hours worked have increased to 43 from 40 in January 2017. 19% are working over 48 hours compared to 13% of respondents 12 months ago.

On this basis, 3% of all trainees are being paid the national

minimum wage or under when compared to 5% last year.

Kathryn Riley, managing director said: “The competition for the best and brightest graduates is tougher than ever before. This is a generation who may be entering the workplace with unparalleled levels of student debt and so may be forced to make decisions based on the salary they can achieve. A career in the legal profession remains highly desirable but failure to meet recommended salaries could mean potential trainees look to other industries in which to build their careers.” 

The Law Society calculates its recommended minimum salary by adding the average annual cost of the LPC to a 35-hour week on a living wage. The living wage increased in November 2017 to £10.20 an hour in London and £8.75 in the regions. Last year the Law Society valued the average cost of the LPC at £3,168 per annum.

More than 3,000 lawyers responded to the wider piece of research; our 2018 Annual Salary and Benefits Benchmarker.   

Salary Survey 2019

Results are now in – see where you fit in the legal landscape.


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