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Average law grad earns £24,500 in first job after uni

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Better than business degree holders, but not economics

The average law graduate earns less than £25,000 in their first job after leaving university, a new report has revealed.

The findings, published by recruitment outfit Bridgewater Resources, show, on average, law grads are paid £24,492 during their first year of work. This is less than their economics and maths counterparts, who earn £29,068 and £25,896 respectively.

The average accountancy grad earns £22,828 in their first job post-graduation, while their business-studying peers take home £24,336. Computer science and civil engineering came in just ahead with average salaries of £25,480 and £27,716.

The 2019 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

Veterinary medicine placed top with £29,224, according to the findings, while those who studied creative arts and design finished bottom — earning, on average, £15,184 in their first year of work post-uni.

The earning power of law graduates taking their first tentative steps into the profession varies dramatically depending on their chosen path. Legal Cheek‘s Firms Most List shows trainees at City law firms can earn northwards of £50,000 during the first year of their training contracts. Meanwhile, over at the criminal bar, a pupil barrister can earn less than £20,000.

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92 Comments

Anonymous

Anyone without a TC ends up working for Tesco’s, Topman, H&M etc. The Law Society should place a restriction on how many students a can study law each year. This way there will be less unemployed law students. This isn’t controversial – same principle applies in medicine.

Weil - Trainee Associate

Instead of the government funding Mickey Mouse degrees such as Art, Geography, Music…. they should fund more Medicine places so we have more doctors and less nhs waiting time.

Student finance should also be scrapped for EU nationals. It’s ridiculous British tax payers are funding French, German, Spanish, Polish etc students to study here.

Anonymous

Fuck off gammon

Anonymous

Yes. Except that a medical degree costs vastly more and the time to qualification is 5 to 10 years post degree depending on specialty. Hence the slight problem with Cameron’s pledge in 2010 to reverse the cut in medical school places. He did, so those students will qualify as GPs in 2025. So we are going to need Johnny Foreigner for a bit.

Anonymous

Seconded. All students pay the same course fees. But to deliver an arts degree you need a bloke with a beard and some arts and crafts supplies. A medical degree needs the entire infostructure of a NICE accredited teaching hospital to deliver. So we actually need more arts and music graduates to subsidise the cost of training medics.

Training as a GP takes ages as you have to have a reasonably good knowledge of everything. If you are an ENT specialist, you have to be shit hot on ears, noses and throats but you do not have to know anything else. Cutting medical school places was a major mistake because of the lead time to qualification. Although Cameron sold it to the public as “I’m going to recruit more doctors”, all he could actually do was increase the places at medical school, increasing the number of British qualified doctors in 15 years time. Which to be fair to him he did actually do.

But the gap had to be filled by foreign doctors until British trained doctors qualified. I was feeling pretty shit last year and went to see my Polish GP. She took a bloods and knew enough to identify occults in my blood and gave me a two week referral. Turned out I had a small cancerous tumour. It was one day in hospital to remove it. Without that Polish GP I’d be dead. So fuck you and the horse you rode in on.

Anonymous

Ah gosh if this is the intellectual quality of Weil trainees I’m happier than ever I didn’t end up at a city law firm.

Anonymous

Everyone in the City knows Weil mainly hire semi-retarded Tarquins and Henriettas as it’s trainees. Nothing new to see here

Tarquan, trainee @ Weil solicitors

Jelusy is an aweful thing.

Anonymous

Can’t reply to ‘Tarquan, trainee @ Weil solicitors’ for some reason, but as to the charge of jealousy, I escaped city law and ended up at the commercial bar, so I’m not quite sure it sticks.

Random passer-by

Sensitive much? The kid was joking.

Anon

You only get SF if you’ve been living in the UK a while. You don’t just get it because youre an EU national.

Anonymous

Yes you do. I have a number of friends who moved from their EU country of origin straight after high school to start university and they all had the regular student loan.

You might be confusing this with the right to pay EU fees (ie the same fees as UK students) as opposed to international student fees. To be eligible for the EU fees, the EU student must have lived in the EU for a certain number of years before coming to the UK to study. So, for example, a dual Canadian/Italian citizen who has spent her whole life in Canada wouldn’t be eligible for EU fees at a British uni.

Anonymous

Lol, our last Prime Minister was a Geography grad.

Anonymous

And look how well that went!

Matt

That’s actually not a bad point.

Either removing funding for non-British nationals to study in the UK or requiring them to have a guaranteed job following qualification in the UK.

Anonymous

“Anyone without a TC ends up working for Tesco’s, Topman, H&M etc.”

Interesting how that was your first assumption. Perhaps consider other professional services jobs outside of TCs and pupillages? Such as working for the Big Four, a legal tech start-up or in Canary Wharf?

Catch a grip of yourself and put Daddy’s credit card back into his wallet.

LeedsTrainee

No paralegal is on this much. You are lucky to get £18k….

US Firm Paralegal & Future Trainee Solicitor 2020

I’m a paralegal at a US firm in London. Base salary is £38,000 + £10,000 OT + £3,000 bonus. Total salary for last year was around £51,000 before tax. I’ve also been a paralegal at a MC firm. Base was £30,000 + OT and small bonus. Total around £40,000.

Not Resentful

One of the few lucky ones who’s parent probably supported you throughout uni and life generally. Well done!

US Firm Paralegal & Future Trainee Solicitor 2020

What are you on about? Both parents unemployed. Nobody supported me. Anyone can apply for paralegal roles.

Anonymous

Anyone who can self fund their LPC, you mean.

Majority of paralegal roles have LPC qualified as a requirement and self funding it isn’t cheap.

Anonymous

You are in a tiny minority.

Anonymous

Some US firm paralegals are on 45k + what you saying

Anonymous

Agreed, especially if you’re on a paid overtime deal, then you can be making absolute stacks even if you’re pissing blood from the unholy hours you’ll be working. Not uncommon to go above £60k pro rata in a busy US firm team

Anonymous

Not every firm is a US outfit offering such handsome remuneration.

Anonymous

English commercial firms are also offering decent paralegal pay with paid overtime. I worked at a commercial high street firm and made £21,000 in 6 months. Overtime was paid x1.75.

Anonymous

Not every firm is a commercial one. Is everyone on here in a City lad bubble?

Anonymous

I saw a couple of paralegals in the corridor the other day. I tossed a roll of fifies at them, not because I was interested in topping up their meagure salaries, but for a laugh as they fought over the scraps from the top table.

Regional Mug

Some London paralegals (especially at US and MC firms) are earning more than regional NQs! Practising law in the regions is basically pointless these days

Anonymous

Agreed, I only moved because my girlfriend’s a doctor and practising medicine in London is as much a mug’s game as law in the regions.

It’s not too bad if you get equity at a decent national firm (DLA, Pinsents etc.) or go in-house and get a decent slug of shares in a PE backed company (what I did), but otherwise it’s a complete financial shitshow.

Anonymous

Finally a sensible comment.

Anonymous

The worst is the larger firms in the regions tbh – long hours (not London long, but not short) for 5k more than someone is earning doing SME work at a small shop working 9 to 5.

Future US trainee

I am an in-house paralegal on £32k base + £3k bonus + perks. Very good work-life balance and an option to work from home are additional perks that cannot be overlooked. In fairness, I almost dread the fact that I will forever lose this lifestyle once I start my training contract next year in the US firm.

Anonymous

I think work-life balance is pretty relative here. It’s probably shite compared to a job outside legal practice.

Future US Trainee

Not really. I work 9:30 to 5:30, have never stayed in the office past 6pm. I am also lucky to be based in Zone 2 which not only saves me money but also shortens my commute time to 20 minutes only.
Honestly, sometimes I think I hit the jackpot with this job and ever since I got my TC I cherish every moment here because I know very well that it is going to be incredibly sweaty in just a few months… Oh well, but I guess that is what we signed up for, right?

Anonymous

35k in London is pretty shit

K&E Associate

PHAT

Anonymous

Get off LC and get back to making me millions.

Kirkland NQ

Say what???

Anonymous

Goes to show that studying law outside the Russell Group / plate glass (if not RG – Kent, Sussex, UEA) is in 99% of cases simply not worth it. Those students will most likely not have the requisite A levels and be barred from getting a top TC. Limit this to serious applicants entering firms in London, the South and cities like Birmingham, Manchester and the figure will be higher.

Anonymous

I do not think it is worth it unless you are in the top third at Oxbridge or top of your year in a top 5 uni.

Cam Grad 2019

Like yourself, one imagines? haha.

Anonymous

Since when has studying at Sussex University been a worthwhile endeavour?

Anonymous

I had a Sussex graduate in my tutorial group during the BPTC. They objected to the term “novus actus” because it was Latin. They did not obtain a pupillage.

Anonymous

Did they object to you being an arse?

Anonymous

Certainly not in Latin. Do you think what I care what someone who has a problem with “novus actus” calls me?

Anonymous

The fact you’re posting about would suggest yes.

Anonymous

No, we had such a laugh in the pub about it afterwards.

Anonymous

About you being an arse and showing him up?

Anonymous

Oh dear, you sexist, assuming it was a “he”.

Anonymous

So you bullied a woman? Wow.

Anonymous

I treat those deserving of contempt the same regardless of what sex they are or claim to be.

Oxford Grad

Well, I was on the BPTC with someone from Sussex. She was bright and fantastic at advocacy. She just got pupillage after paralegalling for a bit. I don’t think it’s helpful to generalise.

Anonymous

In general they are mediocre, but there are some exceptions. See what I did there, you spineless snowflake?

Anonymous

Loads of Sussex, Kent, UEA, Reading grads in the City working at US, MC and SC firms.

Anonymous

Yes, they photocopy well apparently.

Anonymous

Maybe the ones toiling away at the MC. For those in SC or US, they’re getting early responsibility, paid really well in top, meaningful practice areas driving the City.

Anonymous

Lmaooo so trew

Anonymous

Brothers! Sisters!

Astonishing greed for young folks!

A windfall tax is needed for City greed!

VOTE LABOUR

LSE LLB2

RG places should be prioritised for British students. LSE is 75% Chinese. UCL is 70% European. British students are now in the minority. In the US, Harvard, Yale, Stanford, MIT etc have a maximum quota of 5% for international students. We should follow the same system and educate our own people first.

Anonymous

I’m a foreigner, but agreed. You people need to stop giving preferences to others just because ‘diversity and inclusion’…

Anonymous

Don’t think that’s the reason. Its that the Univesities can charge overseas students more in fees.

Anonymous

Not EU students lol

Anonymous

Exactly. Which is why LSE has so many Chinese students. 😉

Anonymous

sounds like RACISM

Anonymous

I’d suggest it’s more xenophobic… but hey, Britain Trump is in so everyone rock out with your nationalistic c*ck out.

Anonymous

You should see how the French treat the British, blacks etc in Paris. French most racist people on earth.

Anonymous

Agreed. The French abuse black people in France and treat them like shit. French see immigrants as slaves. Even at football games, almost all the time they make monkey noises at black players.

Anonymous

You realise the international students are paying top whack and helping to subsidise the domestic students who are not? So you don’t suddenly get more places for British students by kicking out the hated forins. This pathetic beggar-my-neighbour attitude is how we have ended up with a Brexit that will make us all poorer and kill of industries that rely on immigration

Anonymous

One thing I’ve noticed is that these average numbers are insanely skewed due to the inclusion of London.

I’m at a firm in the square mile that pays paralegals £30k +OT (which in order to get approved requires withstanding evil glares from partners). Trainees make ~32 first seat. After talking with fellow law grads that have made it in the City this is near the bottom of the barrel.

Yet when I worked as a paralegal at the Thames Valley office of a national firm, they wanted to pay me £18k and I argued up to £20k (no OT available). I could barely afford rent and had to use a family credit card to buy groceries. Everyone said £20k was rockstar money for paralegals. Trainees started at £23k and NQs were lucky if they got £35-40 at similar firms in the area.

Regional fee earners need to demand they get paid what they deserve – I know plenty of juniors at large firms in the Thames Valley, Leeds and Midlands that work just as hard as I do if not harder and in quality work but make 30-45% less than me and the equivalent qualified lawyers at my current firm.

Anonymous

Move to K&E, Latham, W&C, Weil etc. then. It’s that simple.

Anonymous

I didn’t realise they were offering paralegal positions on the street corner. I’ll pop out and nab one.

Anonymous

Yeah usually available buy one get one free. Proper dolla train.

Anonymous

“Trainees make ~32 first seat.”

Must be a top City firm for sure. My guess is on Rosling King or a similar sweatshop?

Anonymous

Not RK, but it is a small shop. My firm specializes in areas I’m interested in and average leave time is 6pm with rare late nights required. Not overly sweaty thankfully.

Funny story on RK though: reached out to them in 2nd year to get more info as I never saw them at law fairs; never heard back from my messages. Applied by the TC deadline 6 months later. Got a rejection from HR a year and a half later (at which time I’d accepted my current TC offer). That told me it was a well-managed firm.

Anonymous

You realise the international students are paying top whack and helping to subsidise the domestic students who are not? So you don’t suddenly get more places for British students by kicking out the hated forins. This pathetic beggar-my-neighbour attitude is how we have ended up with a Brexit that will make us all poorer and kill of industries that rely on immigration.

Started from the 🅱️ottom

I moved to London for my first job and I was on £26k. I took unpaid holiday to attend a VC and got a TC from that. I’m now killing time working inhouse and am on about £46k, due a review next month and so could be on up to £65k depending on how it all goes… work-life balance is fab and I’m in the City. I do have to do whatever I’m asked and am providing support across four teams, but I’m known for getting the job done and literally get “loaned out” if shit’s hitting the fan elsewhere. Been in London for just over 2 years now in total.

My parents aren’t educated, they have no ties to law at all. It’s all perfectly doable without nepotism and the rest of it. The only downsides I can see short-term are that I’ll probably be doing less interesting work as a trainee and will be making less dollar than I am now…

I guess it’s just down to how much you really want to make it happen for yourself.

buttttt

I’m sort of in the same boat, I’m earning a lot in house, and jumping on a training contract would significantly lower my wage so I’m trying to measure up if its worth it 😐

🅱️

I think my initial post makes me sound a bit cuntier than I actually am, sorry for that chaps – just annoyed at your man saying we all end up in Tesco.

In the long-term you stand to make way more as a qualified lawyer, so for me it’s gomna be a painful move but definitely the right one. If you’re happy with it then stay where you are, but I think that you would be insane to pay paralegals more than NQs… we’re both quite close to hitting the upper limits of what we can be paid.

Anonymous

How did you find paralegal work without prior experience/LPC? Assuming it was a paralegal role as your first job that is

Anonymous

In London maybe!

Average regional salary would be £20k max!

Current Paralegal - Future Trainee

Agreed. This comments section must be comprised largely of London-based paralegals in my view. The above article and the comments do not reflect my experience in the regions at all.

anon

Definitely lucky to scrape 20k straight out the bat in a regional firm, otherwise you will have to knock out two years in the same position and wait for the salary reviews before hitting 20k as a paralegal. It’s a liberty tbh!

Anonymous

Everyone commenting here seems to be under the impression that everyone studying law at university wishes to practise in the corporate/commercial realm in the City, and the tiny minority who do not, should. Are you aware that these figures are being dragged down by paralegals at high street and Legal Aid firms, or do those hovels not even appear on your radars?

Anonymous

Lmao who is “legal aids”???? Never heard of that firm

Anonyman

Effectively a pointless article. No law graduates go straight into a high paying job as they have to study for their LPC and then go into a training contract – that is if they’re lucky.

It’d be more useful if it was comparing the salary of law graduates five or six years after they have graduated, to people who have studied other subjects.

Anonymous

My father was a lawyer, I am a lawyer. I’m really clever. I walked into the job. I’m really clever though. I waste time playing games on my phone in the loo. I’m really good though. I could be better, but I don’t need to be. Meh.

High Street Anon

My first job out of uni that was law related was around 15k and I’m about to start a TC at a high street firm ~20k. It would be nice if some of these 25k jobs could make their way up north please

Anonymous

All things considered, as long as you don’t have to live in London, that’s a fairly respectable salary. More than either of my parents earned, at least.

Elizabeth Bennet

I was paid £25k pa plus bonuses in my first legal field job, with no law degree – in fact no formal qualifications to speak of – as a RECEPTIONIST. Yup, answering the phones and making tea.

I’m not really sure what my point is, it’s just always surprised me that I got paid much more than actual solicitors did.

Anonymous

Nannies are getting £50-60k now. More with the right languages.

Luxembourgian middle class

Both my parents are working class eastern Europeans. Moved to the UK to graduate with a “Micky Mouse” law degree. Never got a chance at any British law firms, but instead got a cozy legal job a Deutsche Borse in Luxembourg paying a handsome €75k a year with a full benefits package.
So maybe instead blaming europeans, the British elites or your unis for not giving you what you expected out of life… I dunno maybe learn a language or two and get yourselves some palliatable personalities that people actually want to give a chance.

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