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Young Legal Aid Lawyers: SRA must reintroduce mandatory minimum trainee pay

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15

Enforceable salary requirements ditched by SRA in 2014

A group representing young legal aid lawyers has called on the regulator to rethink its decision to abolish the requirement for a minimum salary for trainees.

The Young Legal Aid Lawyers (YLAL) has warned that low trainee pay is having a “direct impact” on social mobility within the profession and is one of the “biggest challenges” facing junior lawyers wishing to pursue a career in legal aid.

The YLAL’s warning comes despite research suggesting the number of rookies earning less than the Law Society’s minimum salary recommendation was at its lowest in three years.

The Law Society recommends (i.e. firms can choose to ignore it) trainees be paid £21,561 in London and £19,122 elsewhere. The minimum pay levels had previously been enforceable by law, however, amid much disapproval, this was scrapped by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) in 2014.

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While recognising the efforts of some firms to ensure trainees are properly remunerated, the YLAL has warned that further progress across the sector as a whole is still required. In a recently published blog post it said:

“While YLAL acknowledges the difficulties faced by high street firms and other legal aid providers in the current climate, we believe that the future of access to justice depends on the continued recruitment of new generations of legal aid lawyers. We are concerned that even eight years after our first report into social mobility, low salaries remain a major challenge faced by trainees and paralegals.”

Continuing, the group said it “strongly urges” the SRA to review its decision to abolish the requirement for a minimum wage for trainees and will continue to lobby for change.

A survey published earlier this month by legal recruiter Douglas Scott found that around a quarter of trainees were being paid below the recommended levels set by the Law Society. This compared to 38% in 2018, 35% in 2017 and 31% in 2016.

Solicitors profession aside, the Bar Standards Board (BSB) confirmed last month pupillage awards will increase from September 2019. Under the new rules, the minimum will be set in line with salaries recommended by the Living Wage Foundation (LWF) — £18,436 per annum for pupillages in London and £15,728 per annum everywhere else.

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15 Comments

Anonymous

Yes please introduce it and remove the LPC requirement for PARALEGAL ROLES and maybe put a cap on the LPC FEES Ffs

(21)(2)

Anonymous

Requiring an LPC for a paralegal position so unnecessary and really hinders the profession, in my opinion.

For a lot of people trying to get training contracts, legal experience is going to be necessary to supplement the rest of their application. People who don’t do the LPC without a TC generally make that decision due to financial constraints.

Putting the best possible experience they could get in vying for TCs behind the same obscenely over-priced qualification is ridiculous.

(16)(1)

Anonymous

When there are so many jobless LPC graduates, why wouldn’t firms hire paralegals from this more experienced pool?…

(2)(28)

Anonymous

How is a LPC paralegal experienced? The reason why they are jobless is because they need 6 months to 2 years experience in a paralegal role which already requires a LPC. So they need A LPC AND YEARS OF EXPERIENCE which they don’t have.

And the solicitor qualification route with a paralegal role is 4 FRICKING YEARS.

(5)(0)

IRWIN MITCHELL PARTNER

NO!

(2)(5)

spbslave

somebody help mi im cold and hungri

(0)(2)

Anonymous

Errr …

By definition, becoming a legal aid lawyer is not now, and really never has been, an aspect of “social mobility”. There is, rightly, no wealth and no prospect of social advancement in the job. It is not a get rich quick scheme – it’s a calling. More akin to being a vicar.

The problem we want to solve is not that legal aid lawyers can not buy London townhouses, it’s that legal aid lawyers can’t afford to eat.

(15)(0)

Jerusalem

Being a vicar used to be a good job in the 1950s.

Brexit is just the beginning

VOTE NO DEAL

(2)(1)

Anonymous

Plz go on. No really I’m fascinated

(0)(1)

Anonymous

Rather than whining about having low pay, they should’ve thought it that before taking a job with low pay.

(2)(18)

Anonymous

Universities never provide this information

(9)(2)

Legal Aid Trainee

I get paid in biscuits and coffee.

(2)(0)

IM Trainee

Lucky bastard.

(3)(0)

Legal Aid Barrister

I live in a bin.

(2)(0)

Elton

🎼…and it seemed to me….

You lived your life…

Like a scandal in the bin…🎶

(2)(0)

Comments are closed.

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