Over a third of trainee solicitors are being paid LESS than Law Society minimum wage
Law Society tells Legal Cheek salary recommendation is under review
New figures show there has been a sharp rise in the number trainee solicitors who are earning less than the Law Society’s minimum salary recommendation.
The eye-catching stats, produced by Douglas Scott Legal Recruitment as part of its annual salary survey, show that more than a third of trainees (38%) across England and Wales are earning below the Chancery Lane-set minimum wage. This is up 9% since 2017 (35%), and a whopping 23% since 2016 (31%). Douglas Scott’s managing director, Kathryn Riley, described this as a “downward spiral”.
There is one tiny piece of good news. The survey, which questioned some 500 trainees, states that 25% of trainees were paid a bonus in the past 12 months compared to 24% in 2017.
The Law Society has a recommended minimum salary level which it reviews annually. The last review was in November 2016 and a Law Society spokesperson told Legal Cheek that bigwigs at the Society are, in fact, currently reviewing it. However, the minimum level — £20,913 in London and £18,547 elsewhere — is not enforceable and is for guidance only.
At the end of last year, it emerged that the Law Society president’s Bolton-based firm was paying less than the Society’s own recommendations. At the time, then Law Society president Joe Egan said:
“My firm is predominately a legal aid firm and times have been difficult for us and many other businesses since LASPO came on line. Two years ago I took no salary at all so my firm could keep going. At the moment we have two trainee solicitors — and, yes, it’s true we pay below the recommended rate. I regret this. But these two people would not have had training contracts with us had we not made this difficult choice.”
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