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Average solicitor earns almost £10,000 less than a train driver

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£43,725 versus £53,403

New stats have shown solicitors earn, on average, 18% less than a train or tram driver.

Those plying their trade in the practice of law earn an average salary of £43,725 each year — that’s almost £10,000 less than drivers’ £53,403 annual median wage. The average Brit earns £29,558 each year, according to the survey of 270 job types.

‘Legal professionals’ ranked fifth in the salary stakes, however. Members of the legal profession earn, on average, £69,992 each year — that’s over £40,000 more than the national average. The survey does not specify what constitutes a ‘legal professional’.

Chief executives command the highest average income at £97,083, while doctors come second with an average yearly salary of £75,855. Directors in marketing and sales are the third highest paid in the country, according to the research, with a median salary of £75,126, while their counterparts in IT and telecoms earn £72,109.

Just below legal professionals in the pay power list are financial managers (£67,593), directors in advertising and PR (£65,074), senior police officers (£59,634) and ‘functional managers’ (£57,098). Rounding off the top ten are train and tram drivers. Solicitors rank 31st.

The 2019 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

Further findings show the professional sector, such as lawyers and doctors, come out on top as 93% of roles analysed are paid over the average working Brit’s wage.

Lower down the table are ‘legal associate professionals’ who take home a below average salary of £29,308. Legal Cheek understands this to include those working in the legal sector who have not completed professional or vocational qualifications such as paralegals or legal secretaries.

Bar staff earn the least, according to the data, with an average salary of £15,072 each year. Following closely behind are waiters and waitresses (£15,454), hairdressers (£15,610) and launderers/dry cleaners (£15,614).

Despite solicitor earning potential coming in at an average of £43,725, Legal Cheek’s Firms Most List shows that newly qualified (NQ) lawyers in the City can receive sums well in excess of this. At a glance, fresh-faced associates at Kirkland & Ellis, Akin Gump and Debevoise & Plimpton can earn northwards of £140,000 a year, while their magic circle counterparts can receive recently improved pay packages around the £100,000 mark.

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62 Comments

Train nerd

Tube drivers earn way more than most regular train drivers.

Anonymous

Tube drivers are also heavily unionised.

Solicitors get what they deserve for signing up to no unions and globalist bs – wage repression and no reciprocity in services

Try setting up a legal practice in Germany

Wake up

What a joke

Anonymous

100% true

Anonymous

This list is pretty much useless, as you yourselves have shown. The difference between an NQ in a small high street firm and an NQ at a city outfit is massive. Both skew the average to a number that doesn’t represent either.

Anon

They give you the average in between, that’s the point. Lots of Legal 500 firms above the smaller high street firms will pay in line with this average.

Anon

The £43,725 figure quoted seems to be specific to Solicitors. Some firms don’t even have this title and NQs go straight to associate, and in most city firms where they do have “solicitors”, it usually relates to those in the first few years of qualification.

The Legal Professional figure is probably a more true average of what Solicitors earn (if a solicitor includes, Associates, Senior Associate, Partners etc and means a qualified solicitor).

Anonymous

Which does rather prove Mr Susskind wrong … these jobs could be replaced by AI today.

Yet they aren’t.

Anonymous

I would think that solicitors’ salaries have a wider range than some other professions – especially doctors or train drivers which are within bands set by the state

Anonymous

Plenty of doctors in private practice and private hospitals, and plenty paid along set bands but doing varying numbers of procedures.

Anonymous

An average solicitor is a sweaty, polyester suit gimp operating out of a small office above the local chippy on Grimsby High Street.

Cannot possibly compare that with the responsibilities and training required of a train driver.

Scep Tick

Must take a lot of training to press start and stop on a pre-arranged route.

Anonymous

U stoopid or sometin?

Anonymous

You been born this dumb or did you have to work for it?

Anonymous

You ever been to Grimsby? need danger money mate

Anonymous

It’s grim up Grimsby.

Anonymous

I can’t wait for all trains to be automated – maybe I will get to my lower-paying law firm at a consistent time for once.

Jokes aside – solicitor salaries are so insanely varied – become a legal aid solicitor in the regions and be happy to make a pre-tax wedge of ~60-75K at 10 pqe. Or, grind out 1800 to 2000 hours, or more, of corporate deals a year or become a recognized specialist in a niche area in the City and realistically expect somewhere around £250k at 10 PQE. Much much more depending on the firm as well.

Some people say might claim lower paid lawyers have a better work/life balance – but that’s complete nonsense. If you are in private practice you grind hard for your clients or risk not being instructed.

Anonymous

Typically they do. I moved from international firm in regions to magic circle, and I work a lot more hours now.

Anonymous

If there was no difference in work life balance, literally why would anyone work outside of London? Obvs you’re gonna work more at the MC. That being said, I can’t imagine you were swanning off at 6pm every day in the regions mind!

Anonymous

Is that a nature of the location or a nature of the firm? The MC is an insane beast. I’d hope regional lawyers work less but I know a few northern DLA and AG corporate lawyers that suffer the same deal cycles (few days/weeks of midnight finishes) for around 70-80% of the wages paid to their London colleagues.

Anonymous

70-80% of wages is generous… Couple of years PQE and you’re looking down towards 50%

Anonymous

Really?! The partners should be ashamed.

Jake

I work in a bar. Even though we don’t have great salaries we certainly make up for it with benefits in kind. I’m talking women, booze etc. Far rather do my job and love every minute of it than work a boring office job.

Anonymous

Which begs the question, why one earth are you reading LC?! (I ask myself the same question every day)

Jake

I apply to every PE role at Kirkland that comes up. I’ve heard it’s the only legal role that’s more fun than working in a bar. But I don’t have a law degree etc so my chances are slim.

Anonymous

Don’t let qualifications stop you. The current NQ’s- I hear there is only one, on the autobahn fast track too, was taken straight out of Harvard on the first day to smash PE deals.

Anonymous

Defo the women. Even ugly barristers pick up women here at the bar.

Jen Annon

Lawyers need to unionise.

Particular forums for extremely exploitative wage gouging are legal staffing agencies, legal recruitment agencies and legal process outsourcers, which normally bill out at up to five times what the lawyers in question are actually paid, in the worst kind of abusive zero-hours environment.

These types of operations are usually American and free from any oversight from the BSB or SRA or indeed any regulation and represent their hidden employees as “contactors”.

They roughly employ about two to three thousand solicitors, legal executives, barristers and RELs across England and Wales.

Anonymous

This just cannot be right. I work in the City and every other lawyer I know working here earns a similar amount. Really shouldn’t include a few backwater regional and high street firms in these surveys – distorting effect.

A grumpy barrister

Why not include high street solicitors? What is the ‘distorting effect’? The figures do not purport to be the average salary of a city lawyer, but ‘lawyers’ per se. High street lawyers are just as much solicitors as city lawyers.

Plus, if the issue was the inclusion of just ‘a few’ high street firms, they would not be so numerous as to ‘distort’ the average. Perhaps the average in fact tells the city lawyer something about the majority of lawyers.

Jen Annon

The legal staffing agencies, legal recruitment agencies and legal process outsourcers I mention above are very much based in the City and often handle matters worth billions on behalf of firms including magic circle ones.

The logic is that if the lawyers in question were employed by the firms in question, salaries would be in the range of 80k or so, therefore outsourcing allows the firm to achieve the same end at up to half the price yet without reducing billable hours.

The legal staffing agencies, legal recruitment agencies and legal process outsourcers then further gouge wages leaving the actual lawyers with maybe 25 to 30k pa or so.

In worst case scenarios, there’s solicitors out there on £11 a hour for FF and Links as the two worst offenders.

Anon

What are you talking about?! The firms pay the recruitment fees, it doesn’t get taken out of wages at all. That would be illegal.

Jen Annon

There are no wages.

These workers are contractors at a fixed hourly/daily rate with limited companies or through umbrella companies and are normally compelled to use this route by the agency in question.

There additionally is usually no alternative possibility of employment (other than maybe some high-street work at even lower rates) as it is the same legal staffing agencies and legal recruitment agencies, that are the recruitment gatekeepers for most City Firms and they pigeonhole and “steer” certain kinds of lawyers into certain kinds of roles, with every kind of discrimination: age, disability, ethnicity even looks, fully available to such organisations. There are even smaller subsets of discrimination even within the pool of such lawyers, with certain kinds of people steered towards certain firms.

The legal staffing agencies, legal recruitment agencies and legal process outsourcers bill these lawyers out to the firm at a different higher fixed hourly rate than what they are paid.

The firm bills the client at yet another different higher fixed hourly rate.

A typical example (from 2017 when I was last caught up in this mess) the Client pays the Firm £150 ph, Firm pays Staffing Agency £80 ph (or bulk equivalent) and Agency Payroll pays the lawyer £18 ph.

There is no regulatory oversight and there is no employment or any employees’ rights etc. You can get fired for no reason other than management not liking the look of you.

I agree, it probably is all very much illegal but will never be tested or complained about. Blacklisting and exclusion are very common practices in this industry.

Anonymous

So I don’t understand the point being made. If you are 3 years PQE plus, you are perfectly entitled to set up your own firm, get your own clients, pay your own PII and take on all the responsibilitys of being a solicitor in private practice. Nobody is stopping you and nobody is holding a gun to your head and forcing you to accept work from agencies. For whatever reason you do not want to take the risks of private practice and attact your own clients.

Anonymous

I’m intrigued. Please email me: johnrobertdark@hotmail.com

Anonymous

So naive.

Anonymous

It’s spelled naïve.

Anonymous

I’m intrigued. Please email me: johnrobertdark@hotmail.com

G

I think you will find that “The City” is actually the minority that is distorting the figures…

Barry

Anyone know what’s the best firm for debt recovery? Shoosmiths?

Anonymous

Plebs. That’s why u go Top Whaccc

Anonymous

Train driver more likely to lose their job to automation and AI anyway, especially with the automation or cars and trucks, trains will be a piece of piss to automate, as half of it already is

Anonymous

I think AI is a bigger threat to corporate solicitors, especially the PE drones in US firms.

Anonymous

AI replaced train drivers following the Clampham Junction disaster when one of the retards went straight threw a red light, then complained that it wasn’t his fault as the was no automatic train protection automatically stopping the train when a signal was on red. So ATP was introduced. The human sitting in the cab doesn’t have to stear as the thing is on rails and doesn’t even have the responsibility of stopping the thing. The AI drives the train. You do have to feel sorry for train drivers. They get paid nothing at all and have to put up with sharing their work-space with an idiotic human who does get paid.

Anonymous

Stopped reading at threw

Jen Annon

Are my comments being moderated?

Jen Annon

If so…here’s a repost of my reply above, which was interestingly reported.

There are no wages.

These workers are contractors at a fixed hourly/daily rate with limited companies or through umbrella companies and are normally compelled to use this route by the agency in question.

There additionally is usually no alternative possibility of employment (other than maybe some high-street work at even lower rates) as it is the same legal staffing agencies and legal recruitment agencies, that are the recruitment gatekeepers for most City Firms and they pigeonhole and “steer” certain kinds of lawyers into certain kinds of roles, with every kind of discrimination: age, disability, ethnicity even looks, fully available to such organisations. There are even smaller subsets of discrimination even within the pool of such lawyers, with certain kinds of people steered towards certain firms.

The legal staffing agencies, legal recruitment agencies and legal process outsourcers bill these lawyers out to the firm at a different higher fixed hourly rate than what they are paid.

The firm bills the client at yet another different higher fixed hourly rate.

A typical example (from 2017 when I was last caught up in this mess) the Client pays the Firm £150 ph, Firm pays Staffing Agency £80 ph (or bulk equivalent) and Agency Payroll pays the lawyer £18 ph.

There is no regulatory oversight and there is no employment or any employees’ rights etc. You can get fired for no reason other than management not liking the look of you.

I agree, it probably is all very much illegal but will never be tested or complained about. Blacklisting and exclusion are very common practices in this industry.

Anonymous

I’m intrigued. Please email me: johnrobertdark@hotmail.com

Sergio

Lolz 😂 probably.. there must be a recruiters lurking around LC comments section…. specially as the article talks about pay.

Anonymous

Shows the evils of unions. The right to strike must be more severely restricted especially in a close to full employment economy.

Anonymous

Average Solicitor IQ score almost 10, 000 points lower than the average Train Driver.

Anonymous

I wonder where barristers’ clerks would be categorized on this list?

Anonymous

You pay your clerks? That’s no fun.

Anonymous

They pay me!

Anonymous

Nice to know I make in a fortnight what a train driver earns in a year.

Alan

Can I see my family this weekend Neel?

Casey Jones

So you claim to make around £6 million for a full year’s worth of “work”?
How many hours per week would that be?
Or do you work one fortnight on and one fortnight off?

Going down the tubes

Certain trains have been automatically driven on the Underground for years. Don’t be fooled just because you see a driver sat in the cab.
They are not actually ‘driving’ the train.
The Victoria Line is a prime example, the technology has been around since 1968!!
So unfortunately to those who are envious of train drivers, the hope of AI technology displacing them will not come to fruition anytime soon.

Anonymous

Why is this list is specific enough to indicate a salary for ‘quantity surveyors’ and ‘vehicles assemblers’ but not barristers or clerks!

Anonymous

“Lower down the table are ‘legal associate professionals’ who take home a below average salary of £29,308. Legal Cheek understands this to include those working in the legal sector who have not completed professional or vocational qualifications such as paralegals or legal secretaries.”

A minority will be pushing the average up. There are literally thousands of paralegals and secretaries in the regions and at legal aid firms making far less than £29k.

Anon

Yep this is true, I was on £12k as a paralegal in 2012. I’m now at the bar and earn ten times that.

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