Revealed: the areas of the country where trainee solicitors are paid the least

Avatar photo

By Thomas Connelly on

South West is best — avoid the rest, apart from the City


Research has revealed which areas of the country you are least likely to be paid the Law Society recommended minimum salary as a trainee solicitor.

According to the latest figures, collated by Douglas Scott Legal Recruitment, the North West of England should be avoided and aspiring lawyers should head South West instead.

The research found that 51% of trainees in the North West of England are paid less that the £18,183 figure recommended by the solicitors’ representative body, compared to just 12% of trainees in the South West.

To the outrage of many already hard-up training contract hunters and trainees alike, the minimum salary — that was enshrined in law — was abolished by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) in 2014.

Fast forward to late 2015, recognising the possible exploitation of young legal talent, the Law Society tried to step in, recommending a minimum trainee wage of £20,276 for those in London and £18,183 elsewhere.

Unable to enforce their recommendations, the Law Society appears to have been left powerless as large numbers of law firms across the country stick two fingers up at the Chancery Lane bigwigs.

With over half of trainees in the North West not being paid what the Law Society believes is fair, the picture isn’t much brighter in London.

According to the statistics, 20% of London-based trainees are now being paid below the recommended salary of £20,276, with 10% being paid below the London living wage of £9.15 an hour.

Having looked at the country as whole, the recruiter — which spoke to 500 trainee solicitors for the survey — reckons a staggering 60% of trainees in “general practice” aren’t paid the recommended minimum wage. Overall, 31% of trainees were found to be receiving less than the minimum.

Douglas Scott director Jonathan Nolan said:

Budgetary pressures born of the ongoing liberalisation of the legal services market and economic uncertainty mean that law firms are engaged in a balancing act — they want to create opportunity but at a price they are comfortable with. And in many cases we could just be looking at a housekeeping exercise — our data suggests that the vast majority of firms are respecting the August 2014 mandatory minimum.