Two-thirds of legal professionals struggle to make ends meet

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But over half are too scared to ask for pay rise, new research finds

Two-thirds of legal workers struggle to make ends meet, according to new research, with nearly half running out of money before their next pay-check.

The research, compiled by online job website CV-Library, reveals that 67% of legal professionals struggle to support themselves financially, but more than half (53.3%) are too scared to ask their employer for a pay rise.

The study, which surveyed 2,300 British professionals, found that the majority of legal workers were more likely to apply for a new job, as opposed to ask for a pay rise, as 60% feel confident about securing a higher paid position elsewhere.

Worryingly, the study also discovered that 47% of legal sector workers run out of money before they get paid.

Lee Biggins, founder and CEO of CV-Library said: “It’s worrying to see that so many professionals in the industry are struggling to make ends meet across the UK. The cost of living is continuing to rise and when the economy is so uncertain, it’s clear that companies in the legal sector just can’t keep up in terms of pay. It’s unsustainable for staff to keep working at a financial deficit and it’s up to businesses to do their best to offer employees reasonable salaries. If you don’t, you’ll run the risk of losing talented staff.”

The 2020 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

Earlier this month the Law Society increased the recommended minimum salary for trainee solicitors to £22,541 in London and £19,992 elsewhere — an uplift of 1.9%. But recent research showed that almost a third of rookie solicitors were being paid below the Chancery Lane-set levels, a rise of five percentage points on last year.

Legal support roles including paralegals and chambers clerks are typically paid even less, with some earning as little as £16,000 a year. While at the other end of the profession, Legal Cheek‘s Firms Most List 2020 shows a handful of newly qualified (NQ) solicitors across the City’s elite US firms can receive salaries in excess of £150,000.

Biggins continues:

“While businesses aren’t solely responsible for their employees’ financial wellbeing, you want to make sure you’re offering fair pay. Plus, in order to retain talented workers, it’s important that you conduct annual salary reviews. This doesn’t mean you have to offer more than you can afford; but you should look to reward good performance and increase wages in line with inflation.”

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But 80% odd of “legal professionals” are really mid-level office administrators. So what is the point here?



So they don’t matter?



They don’t have a rational basis to expect significant income. Too fungible and too many on the supply side.


Larry's Mum's Lover

“Matter”? What a snowflake!


Kirkland NQ

I sympathise. Last month, things were so tight just before pay day I had to get non vintage Krug, and I could only take the yacht out on Saturday, not the whole weekend as usual.


Old School

Krug is always a sign of new money trying to act as if they had class.


Old money

Imagine people “working” for their money…



imagine working your ass off for a law degree then retail workers are making more than you.


Irwin Mitchell Sheffield NQ

Imagine working your ass off for a law degree then beggars are making more than you.



Blame Nigel Savage for flooding the market with cheap LLBs

Supply and demand…



Judging by the legal cheek comment section they must be too busy acting out Walter Mitty fantasies of Fame and fortune (see Kirkland NQ etc).

Get back to billing!


4 year PQE MC (ass)ociate

1. Doesn’t take into account the breadth of the profession, e.g. paralegals, administrators, secretaries etc.
2. You have to remember that there is a certain culture among the ‘big city boys’ (cringe). I know lawyers earning 250k+ a year that spend shedloads on pointless shizz. By the end of the month some of them are scraping for pennies. It’s called ”lifestyle creep”. These people are in the top 2% of earners. The problem is, they live like it…



Easy to end up that way. Senior associate/counsel at an elite US firm, wife not working/part-time only, 3-4 kids. You can see how you end up stretched.



Could be worse if both work – out of hours childcare can eat good 1/4 or 1/3 of salary.



If you had more kids than you can afford then that was your choice.



What if they were born as a result of rape? Such a heartless comment, on international women’s day.



If children conceived from rape and carried to term in the UK are responsible for 67% of legal professionals reporting difficulty making ends meet, #metoo must be several orders of magnitude worse than reported.


It is. Nail on the head comment.


If raped, abort.


You really need to be getting about £5-6k after tax to be comfortable. More if you have an expensive house and/or kids. If you include trainees, junior associates, paralegals, etc, that is a big bulk of people below that figure.


Akin Gump 1PQE

Dual income no kids is basically the only way to make it work properly in London. Couple of US firm associates should have you comfortably able to buy etc.



Is that £5-6K each week or each month?


Kirkland NQ

If it’s at the ‘land, per minute.


Kirkland Phatman

Actually, it’s per second. Now back to sweating out my millions, slave.



“Chambers clerks are typically paid even less” – are they though?


Solicitor who Solicits

Think I can relate to this. As a associate, I had a 10% raise this years, which is the usual PQE progression plus a bit more. I also had a bonus for reaching targets. Meanwhile our team secretaries had less than 400 raise on top of their annual salary (well under 30k) which barely covers the costs of transport increases. I did hear some complaints during the conversations with them, but It’s like, I can’t really do anything about it. If I was one of the partners deciding the pay review, I can’t say I would have done any differently. Then again, you do have the odd ones that have no degrees and from poorer backgrounds working to qualify through the CILEX/Apprenticeship route, which will probably take them like a decade to complete.


Archibald Pomp O'City

***********MY HEART BLEEDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!***********







Too many people qualifying from rubbish unis wanting to “do law” because they want to kudos / wealth despite being quite thick. The profession needs to focus on the best and cut numbers. Supply and demand


James Matthews

Coronavirus at Jones Day, Tudor Street. Cleaners is hazmat suits seen sterilising an office at 9pm tonight



We need more information on this. Have not even heard of the Bakers office being sterilised yet. Would love for my office to be sterilised every once in a while


Larry's Mum's Lover

If they shined one of those UV bodily fluid lights from CSI near my desk I’d be sacked.



Tell me about it!



That’s all good bruh, I just farted and someone panicked after smelling the odour.


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