Over a third of trainee solicitors are being paid LESS than Law Society minimum wage

Avatar photo

By Polly Botsford on

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.

The latest comments from across Legal Cheek

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.”

For all the latest commercial awareness info, and advance notification of Legal Cheek's careers events:

Sign up to the Legal Cheek Hub

Related Stories