£22,121 in London and £19,619 elsewhere
The Law Society has suggested a 2.6% rise to the minimum salary for trainee solicitors across England and Wales.
As things stand, the Law Society recommends trainees be paid at least £21,561 in London and £19,122 outside of the capital. Under the new guidance, it has suggested firms should offer trainees a minimum salary of £22,121 in London and £19,619 elsewhere, a rise of 2.6% across the board. The new rate comes into effect on 1 May.
Unfortunately, Chancery Lane’s pay pointers are completely unenforceable, meaning law firms can simply ignore them if they wish. And many do. Recent research found that roughly 25% of trainees were being paid below the recommended levels.
Commenting on today’s modest increase, Law Society president Christina Blacklaws said: “Entry to the solicitor profession should be on merit and nobody should face unnecessary financial barriers.” She continued:
“I urge all law firms to adopt this recommendation for their trainees — which represents a fair salary — and to consider how else they can contribute to greater social mobility to the benefit of their business, society and the profession. Our vision is of a profession in which all solicitors — present and aspiring — can be confident that talent, ability and application are rewarded irrespective of background, gender or ethnicity.”
The minimum salary for trainee solicitors had previously been enforceable by law. This, however, was scrapped by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) in 2014.
Earlier this month, a group representing young legal aid lawyers issued a public plea for the regulator to review its decision. The Young Legal Aid Lawyers (YLAL) warned that low pay was one of the “biggest challenges” facing junior lawyers wishing to pursue a career in legal aid.