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City lawyer, 26, on £150k salary goes public with how she spends her hard-earned money

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Over £33k in savings and zero student debt

A young lawyer earning a hefty £150,000 a year has gone public with her spending habits as salaries across City law soar to unprecedented levels.

The junior associate, 26, has lived in London for the past five years but admits she is not “the best saver”, according to an anonymised piece she’s penned for lifestyle website Refinery 29.

The rookie, who takes home around £7,269 after tax each month, lives in the capital with her boyfriend and contributes £1,425 per month towards their rent — a 60:40 split. She contributes 5% of her salary to her pension and splits the utilities cost, around £190, with her boyfriend.

As for student loan repayments? Non-existent because “my parents paid for my undergrad [degree] and my employer paid for the LPC,” she tells readers. She currently has savings in excess of £33,000.

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After providing a breakdown of her other monthly expenses, including at least £650 to her savings account, she explains that between the ages of of 21 and 26, she lived in a flat in London which her parents own. “I paid the utilities but a reduced rent,” the young lawyer says.

Since moving in with her boyfriend, she says she is now “100% financially responsible” but adds that she has been “financially responsible since the age of 23 in all aspects”, with the exception of the deducted rent.

Documenting one week of outgoings in detail, the junior lawyer’s spending comes to just over £470 — “slightly above average” she caveats — with the majority of this going on entertainment (£156.35) including trips to a nightclub, the cinema and a painting class.

Money aside, the anonymous associate reveals she is a transactional solicitor so her days are “filled with drafting/reviewing contracts and other documents and liaising with our client and the other side”.

Her breakdown of her week also shows her working day can finish anywhere between 7pm and 11:30pm, with her firm providing a free taxi for late finishes in the office.

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61 Comments

FeckOff

Cba

(278)(13)

Bank of Mum and Dad

Easy to save up dough when your parents paid for your degree and the flat you lived in for 5 years.

These kinds of articles are always the same in that regard.

(668)(20)

Dispassionate Observer

This is called trying to spark views and comments on pay when there’s no actual news on pay.

Come on, Legal Cheek, you can do better. You could have a mid-year review article comparing the number and amount of salary increases in 2021 versus 2022. That could confirm that the white-hot lateral market of last year is indeed cooling. But it would also require some actual work and mathematical analysis so I won’t hold my breath…

(253)(8)

Don’t put ketchup on your roast dinner. It is an abomination that I will not have in my house.

I’d also like to add a comparison of firm increases over the past 15 months or so would be interesting.

Many firms have increased 2-3 times within that time and there has been a shift amongst some firms with regard to their pay ranking.

(25)(5)

Very annoyed solicitor

Gutter journalism – how about some real observations and reporting on how the vast majority of NQ solicitors and barristers are knee-deep in student debt.

Disappointed with Legal Cheek.

(276)(7)

Anon

Tuition and flat in London paid for by mum and dad, probably a posh private school too – talk about a leg up! All to get a pls fix email at 1am for that missing definition.

(304)(17)

I Can See That Chip On Your Shoulder

Your embittered assumptions say more about you than the writer of the piece.

(29)(133)

law goblin

– Parents paid for degree
– Lives in a flat in London her parents own

Nice to see law firms doing plenty for “diversity”…

(315)(29)

Curious

All you know from this article are her preferred pronouns. Which features lead you to conclude there is a lack of diversity in her firm or that she herself is not ‘diverse’?

(28)(136)

Anon

Certainly not social diversity if she’s had everything paid for all her life including a flat in London which is stupendously expensive.

(186)(8)

I Can See That Chip On Your Shoulder

One does not need to have particularly upper end socioeconomic status parents to have access to capital that can discharge student debt, particularly given the rampant appreciation of property values over the last 30 years.

(28)(169)

Chippy

Yes one does.

(118)(6)

Paddy fazal

I am a 51 year old guy no qualification (out of choice not tried at school) & manage to work for some blue chip companies ,and manage to pay house off by 43 & not got a care in the world
If you weigh 10 stones don’t pick up 15,u don’t necessary need a law deg to succeed

(47)(26)

Joker

Are you fuxking kidding?

(50)(8)

Anon

This seems to be a story of a modest middle class London worker. The bitterness and self-pity of those commenting on here says more about them than anything else.

(35)(106)

k

This is nonsense. Is this just to gloat or what? Considering we are in one of the worst cost of living crises. Legal cheek, do better. There is literally nothing constructive to take from this.

(234)(7)

ISeeHystericalPeople

Crisis? What crisis? The average adult in the UK is seeing a 3% increase in their nett expenses this year. Hardly the end of civilisation as we know. Just because the MSM cannot discuss inflation without using the cliché “cost of living crisis” that does not make the impact of inflation a crisis.

(25)(121)

Doctor Doom

“MSM”, bulls*** bingo is well and truly off.

(13)(3)

Impoverished

I’m on £24 a hour net with 5PQE, paying a long chain of parasitical staffing agencies, umbrella companies and actually doing all the heavy lifting these kinds of twits are being paid fortunes to purport to do.

Must be doing something very, very wrong

(43)(15)

Anon

Why don’t you go and work for a US firm yourself then?

(36)(17)

Career Advice Freely Given

Perhaps you are just not good enough to earn the big bucks?

It sounds like you are very good at populating templates.

(9)(34)

Rachael

Legal cheek, why not write an article about people struggling to make it without the leg up? Most of us had to live in London on our crappy starting wages, skip meals because we couldnt afford food, not go out, sit with blankets wrapped around us because we couldn’t put any heating on. If you have your parents paying for you, of course you’re going to get the better positions when all your energy isn’t spend on trying not to die.

(176)(18)

Mel O’Drama

Snowflake supernova.

(29)(71)

Not buying it

I work as a paralegal, I started at a fairly low salary and many friends and colleagues did also – in london. Unless you’re talking about a solicitor apprenticeship, how on earth would you need to “skip meals” on your starting salary? Either you lived too close to central london or you’re just playing a very tiny, fictional violin.

(64)(26)

Yeay, yeah

Annualised number of employed twenty somethings in the legal professions who died of malnutrition or froze to death in their homes in London in 2021 : 0.

2022 is looking like another zero year too. Again.

Jog on.

(35)(11)

Yeay, yeah

This ‘jog on’ was addressed to Impoverished not Not Buying It. Not Buying It hit the nail on the head

(6)(5)

Time to find a better paying job mate

Hunger Games: London edition

(7)(4)

Career Guidance Counsellor

Thought about a career in fiction, snowflake?

(9)(13)

meh

the only notable point in this is the only paying 5% into her pension. Should really be putting a lot more in given her salary.

Assuming the BOMAD will contribute a hefty chunk of deposit for a property when it comes to buying.

(74)(5)

Anon

Likely she doesn’t need to pay more into her pension given her inheritance alone will probably be many multiples of what she could save there.

(73)(6)

Anon

This was clearly written to support those who believe that lawyers should not be paid 150k plus. Very disappointed with the legal cheek.

(67)(5)

Anon

It’s giving me bragging vibes. No one asked for this and frankly we do not need to know this.

(76)(5)

Anonymous

It’s a weekly feature on the original website where various people in widely varying salaries write a money diary for a week detailing their living costs and what theyve spent money on that week. Its not really bragging, this article has only highlighted some bits

(7)(3)

Anonymous

Question for the real financially independent ppl, is it worth paying off some of my student debt (about a third using my savings) if I’m due to be on a trainee salary from next year?

(12)(0)

Anon

Before I would have said no just pay it off gradually, but they appear to be doubling interest rates on student loans towards the end of this year so it probably is worth doing so now, yes.

(15)(1)

Not financial advice

Heard that it’s better to make minimum contributions and let the student debt lapse after 30 years… but I am no expert

(8)(4)

Not financial advice continued

^^ reason being that the interest rates are prohibitive, making it pointless trying to minimise the debt whilst it’s compounding

(6)(1)

Anonymous

Yh but on a trainee salary (and NQ etc) more likely to pay it off than for it to lapse.

(8)(1)

Anonymous

Pay it off. Unsecured debt is for mugs.

(7)(5)

Anon

This article is not it – so tone deaf during a cost of living crisis it’s unbelievable.

‘she has been “financially responsible since the age of 23 in all aspects”, with the exception of the deducted rent.’ – so not fully financially responsible at all, given no debt either? Absolute nonsense.

Try all of this but then add in student debt, full rental costs, and 3am nights as a transactional lawyer.

It’s like reading one of those articles about young people getting on the property ladder but then you read their parents gave them at least 75% of their deposit. Jog on.

(111)(7)

Yeah, yeah

It is perfectly ok to be tone deaf. Only those who want to silence opinions of difference resort to the “it’s tone deaf” attack.

(5)(20)

Roger That

Incredibly boring content

(42)(0)

Buzzkill

lmao at claiming “she has been financially responsible since 23” when she was living rent free in her parent’s flat.

The mind boggles.

(66)(2)

Anonymous

Don’t you just love these kinds of articles. So far removed from reality, the kind of stuff which goes towards giving the profession a bad name in general society. How about articles about ordinary people, like, I don’t know, myself. I’m almost £100k in debt, with a round trip in excess of 4hrs each day to do the BTC, I’m disabled and from an underrepresented background and minority communities, yet the univeristy and Inns scholarships have gone to people who went to Oxbridge and live in expensive parts of London. So much for giving everyone a chance at making it. I work in excess of 60hrs a week for the course, yet am told that if i want enough money to live on I need to work outside of the course; with what free time??? If this person is done with the flat, I’ll happily take it off their hands and let their parents pay my costs! :-/ I had gone down the solicitor route, but I had several firms who genuinely blocked contact with me after making them aware of my conditions, and now i’m having a similar problems with certain chambers who have rejected me with it being in black-and-white, in not so many words, saying that I went to the wrong uni (York) and they have oxbridge candidates to take instead, and that my health is an issue for them. Now, I don’t expect at all to be given an easier ride than others because of my background or health, but openly paying lip-service to then discriminate is not on at all. I wouldn’t have made it through university if it was that much of a problem, surely! Oh, and the government seem to think that £60 a week in disability payments is enough to alleviate all of this. How is it that the legal profession can’t seem to understand why people don’t enter the profession or leave in their junior years?! The support just isn’t there for ordinary folk. I’m passionate to the core about law and being a lawyer, and i certainly won’t give up, but please give everyone a fighting chance at least. Surely, that isn’t asking for much?!

P.S. For anyone who may be thinking that perhaps it’s down to poor results or something else, I did get through to the assessment centre stage for a US firm and a national firm, as well as the interview stages for scholarships, but then I get the emails (which, in one case definitely was meant to be an internal email only) which support the above theory.

(38)(19)

Joker

Should have brought a discrimination claim under the Equality Act based on the internal email if as you say it evidences you were not offered because you have a disability.

(25)(5)

Realist

There are far more candidates than there are jobs. If you’re not in the top 5% of applicants, you won’t get a training contract. It’s nothing personal.

For commercial law (the only area worth pursuing if you want to earn more than you paid for your degree), see these 2010 articles (including the comments), warning how brutally competitive it is: https://www.theguardian.com/law/2010/jul/13/legal-training-law-students and https://www.theguardian.com/law/2010/may/28/when-exploitation-acceptable. One of the comments under the last of those bears repetition:

“I wouldn’t bother wasting your time trying to become a solicitor, unless you have perfect grades and / or Oxbridge behind you, it’s just too hard to get in. Admittedly, I’m totally biased. I got decent A-levels, received a 2.1 from a red brick university, then went on to get the GDL and LPC. I had wrongly assumed passing these with a 2.1 equivalent would stand me in good stead. Hundreds of applications later, I’m stuck as a dead-end paralegal for a big firm. I intend to quit the legal profession and switch to a career where hard work is actually rewarded and there is a more settled career progression. Don’t think just because you’ve passed your law exams you’ll succeed. There are about 8000 LPC graduates, and only something like 2-3000 training contracts going around. The problem is compounded each year as more grads flood the market. For example, I recently applied to a high street firm in Brighton with a hand written letter, normally a bar to many applicants who can’t be arsed actually writing in ‘manuscript’. The firm received 150 applications for one job – and that was for a 16K job after a minimum of 4 years HE studying. The Law Society is a disgrace for allowing BPP and the College of Law to train up law grads, only to see their aspirations crushed along with crippling debts compounded on top of student debts when they can’t get a training contract.”

The Junior Lawyers’ Division surveyed failed LPC graduates in 2010, asking, “Would you have taken the LPC if you’d known how few training contracts there are?” Over 1,000 people responded, 72% of whom said “NO”. The 20+ pages of responses are a warning which should be read here: https://web.archive.org/web/20120803042324/http://juniorlawyers.lawsociety.org.uk/node/1213/results, with replies such as “Nobody should assume that a qualification equals a job”, “I shudder as I read through these stories! The law is NOT a good career choice”, and “Despite all the warnings and all the information available to students they just keep on coming and keep on paying the fees for the LPC – nothing has put them off.”

(12)(2)

Anonymous

You know what, I completely agree. For example, the BCAT now being scrapped after they INSISTED that it worked to filter applicants (we know all it did was line their pockets) says all you need to know about the rationale of these universities and regulatory bodies. As I’ve said below, however, I just feel that if a law firm or chambers has no intention of actually giving minorities an equal chance, they shouldn’t advertise that they do. Conversly, I also don’t think it’s the right approach when some firms offer “BAME” only application streams, for example. It sends the wrong message and actually makes minorities feel like pawns in a game of pseudo-altruism, rather than people who are valued for what they can bring to the table.

The profession needs to come into the 21st century and actually be honest and transparent, not only with the public and applicants, but also with itself.

(4)(3)

Al Asker

Just wondering, for some context, what degree did you get? I didn’t see that referenced in the long, long, paragraph above.

(4)(0)

Anonymous

I got a 2:1 from the University of York. It was a law degree too. Admittedly, a few of the modules have less than desirable marks, but then I have others with assessment marks of 80 (which, I don’t know if York is alone in doing this, is the highest they award for some reason). I then got almost full marks on every assessment for the US firm at their assessment centre and the partners said they really liked me. Of course, I completely get what others have said that my degree isn’t as prestigious for a law firm or chambers as the same grade from Oxbridge, but my argument has always been that really York teach more like working in a law firm than the black letter teaching of Oxbridge, which surely is more transferrable and ought to be more confidence inspiring in an employer; but obviously this hasn’t been the case.

(5)(8)

Fact Speaker USA

Lol. Mate, cry me a river. The big US law firms run businesses and we are the PRODUCTS. They want people who look the part and are the part — hassle free. Can deal with clients well and relate to them (professionally and socially).

I am not going to mince my words — the diversity hires in the trainee cohorts are very clear, and generally the quality of their work is far below the average of their contemporaries. You could say… well maybe you’ll have to invest more in these diversity hires to build them up (and you’re right) but that has a cost and they may simply never be at the level of their contemporaries — why take the risk?

Life is not fair. Meritocracy I’m the narrow sense shall prevail (ie. background and all this privilege stuff is immaterial—what is material is the value you bring and can bring going forward as a new hire).

(8)(25)

Anonymous

Listen, I don’t dispute for a second that hiring someone who is disabled is more of a risk and involves investing more money into them. So, on that front I understand the hesitance from law firms and chambers. However, with this being the case it is then fundamentally wrong to advertise that you are “inclusive” and are actively trying to open up the profession if you have no intention of doing that.

Besides, the thing with being disabled is actually you have more life skills, more resilience, more empathy etc etc. These are all things which realistically a lot of privileged graduates don’t have (at least from my personally experience). So, believe me, you’d make your investment back by the bucket load.

In my previous work before commencing studies I used to work double the hours I was contracted for, sometimes north of 60hrs a week at all times of the day and night, taking work in every single department. Consequently, I was offered a managerial position 2 years quicker than they normally offered it to staff. I’m not saying this to gloat or anything like that, I’m simply pointing out that if people actually gave disabled people, and for that matter other minorities, a chance, they’d be surprised what we can do. I’m not a supporter of equality of outcome at all, but of opportunity, which is certainly desirable for all.

I personally feel that the core issue in the profession is precisely what you’ve said. It’s an old-fashioned view of ‘others’, people who don’t fit into the ‘ordinary’ box. And you’re right about taking a risk, in my previous work I ended up on a walking stick for a couple of years (which I’m thankfully free from now). The SECOND I was using it, a petition went around my work to get me fired because they PRESUMED I couldn’t keep up with them.

(12)(1)

Geezer

How does she only have £33k of her own savings?

(47)(1)

Realist

The general problem is so-called “Lifestyle inflation”: people allow themselves to spend stupid amounts of money, and waste money unnecessarily. It surprised me how many associates in my US law firm don’t have financial advisors, and aren’t taking basic tax minimisation measures such as putting the maximum of £40k/year into a SIPP, and £20k/year into an ISA, to escape HMRC’s clutches.

At the risk of personalising my criticism, this young lady doesn’t seem particularly self-aware, and seems to have glided through life with a silver spoon, funded by the Bank of Mum and Dad. I expect that I wouldn’t like her in person. That said, as irritating as she may be, it doesn’t necessarily mean that she’s not an effective lawyer.

(13)(1)

Anonymous

I wondered the EXACT same thing??

(2)(1)

Biglaw Bad Boy (was Bombay)

“including at least £650 to her savings account”

That is genuinely pitiful.

(19)(1)

This makes no sense

How can she have £7,200+ income, pay £1,400 for rent, £190 for bills, and spend less than £500 a week on expenses but only save £1,650 a month? Where is the rest of the money going??

(19)(0)

Fred

Dust. Always dust.

(10)(0)

Future trainee

Considering this lawyer has had not only a leg up but a ladder up, her savings are very low given her income and rent imo. The maths isn’t mathing…?

23 is also a bit late to become financially responsible considering adulthood starts at 18, and they clearly come from wealth, no?

Associate here clearly has a sense of humour to call themselves responsible whilst benefitting from Mum and Dad. Neither responsible or independent? Just snowflaking because they actually realise what the real world is and even then it’s so different to the average person.

There are people who struggle to make their way up, so of course this person here can benefit because they’ve never actually had to work to survive.

Just very out of touch with more money than sense.

This just highlights the level of privilege in the profession and how that continues with unhinged views and takes. They are severely lacking in awareness.

You’d think at 26, there’d be a bit more tact in talking about the level of privilege they have.

This article did nothing other than allow someone to brag and this wasn’t needed imho.

Disappointed but not surprised. As ever, there’s so much more work to do.

(15)(4)

Anonymous

Just another bank of Mum and Dad City solicitor completing transactions for an absurd remuneration. Contributing absolutely nothing to society and not really having lived any sort of hardship whatsoever. This isn’t a triumph of meritocracy, but just nepotism at its finest.

(28)(6)

Late to the party

(1) She appears to allege to be an NQ at a US firm, recently qualified. Hence the relatively low savings – she has allegedly saved apparently 2 years from a training contract, and now 3 months.

(2) The contributor apparently doesn’t understand pensions. She appears to have heard that 5% is a nice amount to contribute as standard and is apparently unaware of the £40k tax free pension and that she’s overpaying tax. Simply put, between £100k-125k, you’re taxed at an effective rate of 60% losing your personal allowance, and annually you can put £40k into a tax free pension (including employer contributions), so you can put in 35k, with 3% employer contributions (c.5k), and are taxed on the remainder. ** Just to put this into perspective, someone earning £125k putting in £25k of pension is earning more than her £150k odd gross putting in her alleged 5% – net net including pension – she is effectively admitting to holding onto more gross so it can be taxed away.

(3) The maths doesn’t seem to me to add up either. £293.52 (her 5% alleged pension contribution) *12 = 3522.24….that’s not 5% of 150k. 5% of 150k is £7.5k, and she’d be putting in about £625 a month (and then taxed on the aftermath). Additionally, the alleged paycheck amount of £7,269.36 would represent an after tax amount of a gross of about 147k, assuming you put £0k into your pension, but she claims she’s using the pension.

(4) Notwithstanding (3) I note the apparent financial pearl of the stocks and savings standing order etc. – in practice, the return from this is virtually zero for a bunch of reasons some relating to needing the cash to buy property before it can do anything.

(5) I would also generally comment it is ill-advised to make a contribution re your lifestyle spending / saving / salary, when you’ve only been earning this sum of money for about three months, when previously you worked for 2 years on a third of that amount. FWIW, I earn a similar amount of money.

(18)(3)

Disgruntled Client

So that’s what my lawyers’ bill goes towards!

(7)(0)

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