Cambridge law grads are the biggest earners in the legal profession

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Light blues outstrip ancient rivals Oxford by £7,000, while LSE comes second and even the Scots get a look in


It’s not meant to be all about the money, but just in case it is, then prospective law students should beg, borrow and steal to get places at Cambridge — as that university’s graduates are the biggest earners in the legal profession.

Research released yesterday shows that lawyers of five to 10 years’ post-qualification experience with Cambridge law degrees top the cash league table in the UK.

The light blues rake in average annual pay of £99,000, with law graduates from the London School of Economics trailing in second place on an average whack of £94,000.

Moneybags top four

According to the researchers —, a bonus and salary benchmarking website focusing on the professional services sector — law graduates from Edinburgh and Oxford universities round out the moneybags top four, earning average annual whacks of £93,000 and £92,000 respectively.

Average wages on qualification and up to five years’ post-qualification experience (PQE) across the board in the legal profession came in at £54,000 annually. That figure will make many legal aid practitioners wince with resentment — and possibly trigger a degree of scepticism over the research.

The Emolument team said it surveyed nearly 400 “legal professionals” in the UK, without specifying practice areas. The Law Society — in its long running campaign against the tabloid press image of fat cat lawyers — has routinely maintained that average earnings across the solicitors’ profession stand at between £40,000 to £50,000.

Intense pressure

Arguably, the Emolument research could relate to commercial lawyers, but the survey is not clear. In any event, it claims that by the time UK lawyers have racked up 15 years’ experience they are on average raking in £181,000 annually.

In a slightly bizarre comment, Emolument chief executive Thomas Drewry said:

“Not only do lawyers commit to long years of studying but it appears they do not reap the financial rewards early in their careers either. With long hours and intense pressure, it is definitely a career for the committed.”

With the average UK annual national wage standing at £26,500, many would be quite keen on that £54k.