Should City lawyers subsidise their less high-earning boyfriends and girlfriends?

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By Legal Cheek on

A question facing lots of rookie solicitors as they move in with their other halves, whose salaries are often much lower

With first year trainee salaries reaching a whopping £60,000 at Weil, and newly qualified remuneration standing at the £150k mark at the likes of Latham & Watkins, Vinson & Elkins, Kirkland & Ellis and Skadden, many rookie City lawyers find themselves out earning their peers.

So when they get into a relationship there is often a pay imbalance. How do you handle this? Over the New Year period The Guardian has explored this problem, showcasing the dilemma of a City lawyer and his boyfriend, and asking its readers, ‘You be the judge: should my high-earning boyfriend pay more of the rent?’.

The cohabitating couple moved into their two-bedroom flat six months prior when one worked in City law and the other finance. But when the lawyer’s partner swapped finance for a job in the charity sector, he found himself unable to afford his half of the rent. So the duo agreed to a 60:40 split, with the lawyer shouldering most of the burden.

But neither is totally happy with the arrangement. The lawyer is annoyed about how much he is paying and his partner is still hard up. Is the arrangement fair? Guardian readers and posters on social media seem split on the matter.

The journey to being a lawyer is, by no means, easy and it takes years to get there — with the Legal Practice Course (LPC) costing upwards of £15,000 and non-law graduates having to pay for the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) on top of that. So many law grads start their careers paying off debts and not fully enjoying their big salaries.

This isn’t the first time circumstances arising from being the other half of the lawyer has created a debate. In 2021, the wife of a lawyer posted her account of her ‘half-life’ being married to a lawyer-husband on parental website Mumsnet.