London law firm denies knowledge of advert for trainee solicitor job that pays just £10k

You’d earn double that in Aldi, and five times at other outfits

An advert for a trainee solicitor at a law firm in East London includes a dismal salary of £10,000.

The Indeed.com ad, for outfit SS Basi & Co, is looking for a candidate with a year’s legal experience under their belt. Though the advert has since been pulled, it is floating in the Google Cache and has been retrieved by Legal Cheek and is screenshotted below.

A £10,000 salary, assuming a 9am-5pm working day with a paid lunch, equates to £4.81 an hour. A 9am-5pm working day with lunch unpaid would take the hourly rate to £5.49. Both figures are well below the UK minimum wage for early twenty-somethings (£7.05) and the London Living Wage (£9.75) — though do note only the former is a legal requirement.

Satwinder Singh Basi, law firm partner, denies SS Basi pays this rate. He told us:

This is ridiculous. I’ve been here [the firm] since 1994 and all trainees have been paid the minimum rate.

When asked about the Indeed.com listing, he said: “What adverts? I’ve not seen any adverts.”

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) sets a minimum guideline salary consistent with the minimum wage. This means that “an authorised training provider” must pay trainees “at least the single hourly rate of the national minimum wage specified in regulation 11 of the National Minimum Wage Regulations 1999.” Basi appears to realise this, noting:

To pay trainees £10,000 would be in breach of SRA rules. I don’t know what Mickey Mouse outfit you’re running, but we don’t pay that here.

It perhaps goes without saying that £10,000 a year is wildly out of line with what other outfits in the capital pay. Law Society guidelines state London firms should pay their trainees at least £20,913. The Legal Cheek Most List shows £30,000-£40,000 for first year trainees is far from uncommon, with the top firms paying £50,000.

This is, of course, on the lucrative commercial law side of things, whereas Ilford firm SS Basi specialises in more welfare-oriented practice areas like crime and immigration. So to give you a comparison with trainees at more humble organisations: Brighton Housing Trust pays its trainees £21,488 for 37 hours per week; North Kensington Law Centre’s aspiring solicitors earn £23,000 for 35-hour weeks; and trainees at human rights group Liberty enjoy £24,650 for 35 hours too.

But while you might be better off working in a Boots store (£7.70 per hour) or an Aldi (£9.75 per hour) than you would in the advertised SS Basi role, pay over at the bar leaves a lot to be desired too.

In a Legal Cheek feature on legal aid work for junior barristers, one reported earning just £2.40 an hour. Many admitted they consider packing in the job each and every day.

And you can’t even assume you’ll be on London Living Wage at the commercial bar either. Last month we revealed that XXIV Old Buildings, a Lincoln’s Inn-based commercial and chancery law set, was advertising for junior clerks at £16,000 per annum. In fact, the advert is still online today.

A screenshot of the XXIV Old Buildings’ advert (via LPMA website)

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33 Comments

Anonymous

I would rather do some paralegaling and continue hunting for a decent TC than work as a slave for some dodgy ‘solicitor’s’ outfit in Ilford.

(9)(0)
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Sir Geffroy De Joinville

I give credit to a newsworthy item what ever its source. The SRA must check out this Micky Mouse firm.
Merci Beaucoup LC

(1)(0)
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Partner at S S Basi

This is clearly a clerical error as mentioned to your staff and completely blown out of all proportions! The person placing the advertisement was an admin assistant at our office. We have been established since 1998 and are disappointed in the slanderous and inaccurate comments written about our business.

(2)(26)
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Nathan King

I find it troubling that a legal firm did not care to check the details prior to posting. That’s poor attention to detail and poor verification in an industry which demands both in spades.

Then again, if you’re only paying £10,000 for your legal staff, it stands to reason that you’re not getting the cream of the crop. I shudder to think what you are paying your administrative staff.

However. If your claim is true, it seems yyour not getting your money’s worth from the poster of this advertisement.

The year you were founded is irrelevant to the discussion. The fact that when asked to comment you denied all knowledge and then back pedal by saying you have explained it to the journalist seems to undermine your credibility even further.

I notice you didn’t clarify what the offered pay was supposed to be. Why is that I wonder?

(22)(0)
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Anonymous

1. The website says the firm was set up in 1998, but you say you’ve been there since 1994?
2. The article above implies you basically denied the advertisement existed, but now you say an admin assistant drafted it?
3. How can it be a clerical error? What did it mean to say? £100,000?
4. Doesn’t slander relate only to verbal statements?

(4)(0)
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Anonymous

1. The website says the firm was set up in 1998, but you say you’ve been there since 1994?
2. The article above implies you basically denied the advertisement existed, but now you say an admin assistant drafted it?
3. How can it be a clerical error? What did it mean to say? £100,000?
4. Doesn’t slander relate only to verbal statements?

(1)(0)
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Anonymous

When apprehended the defendant denied any knowledge of the crime mlud. Due to the lack of resource for prosecuting the offence, m learned friends pretended to be convinced by his denial. The press never asked if there was any corroborating evidence for 3ither the prosecutìon or d3fence.

(1)(0)
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Anonymous

YOU ARE DISCACEFUL!

We made it very clear to yous that it was a mistake, an admin mistake. And even it we was paying a trainee 10k a year, they should deserve it. We offer the best training in East London, and Ilford is a desirable and cheep area to live in.

But yous run the lies anyway because you don’t care about the truth, do you? We do important livesaving criminal work on behalf of the local community of respectable clienetttle. And this is the thanks we get!

Get stuffed and prepare to get sewed!!

(2)(8)
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Anonymous

Don’t forget the payment in kind of working with such journalistic powerhouses as KK, Tom and Alex. Such learning is beyond value.

(1)(0)
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Jonnyboi

…and besides, who could resist getting spitroasted by BOTH Tommy and Alex? I mean, just imagine the savage vascularity and girth you’d be subjected to…yummy!

(2)(0)
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Anonymous

What this shows is that many chambers and law firms are just no longer profitable businesses. Low wages set the tone for a business’s working environment and morale. Terrible pay = Terrible place = Terrible people!

(1)(0)
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