Rise in recommended trainee minimum salary

The minimum salary for trainee solicitors recommended by the Law Society of England and Wales has risen by 1.1 per cent to £20,217 outside London and £22,794 in the capital.

“The solicitor profession offers an incredibly fulfilling career and nobody should face unnecessary financial barriers to entry,” Law Society president David Greene said.

“We appreciate that during the COVID-19 pandemic some firms are facing pay freezes. However, this is a recommended minimum salary – increased in line with inflation as trainees will face increases to their cost of living.

“Many trainees, some of whom only get paid the recommended minimum, have been furloughed this year and are therefore already financially worse off.

“Our vision is that the profession should be accessible to all, regardless of socio-economic background. I encourage all law firms to adopt this recommendation and pay their trainees a fair minimum salary for their hard work so that people from all walks of life can see a path into a career in the law."

The recommended minimum salary, introduced by the Law Society in 2015 after the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) ended the regulatory requirement that firms pay a minimum salary above the minimum wage, is updated annually.

The new rate comes into effect on 1 May 2021. Based on previous guidance, employers are encouraged to implement the increase as soon as they can, on or after this date, and at least within six months.

The Junior Lawyers Division of the Law Society (JLD) was integral to the development and introduction of a minimum recommended salary to trainees as best practice.

JLD chair Manda Banerji said: “Since the SRA's decision in 2014 to no longer mandate a minimum salary for trainee solicitors, the JLD is concerned that some trainee solicitors are not being paid a fair rate. We are pleased to have the Law Society’s support on such an important issue and hope that having a recommended minimum salary helps improve social mobility in the profession.

“According to a recent survey, over a fifth of trainees are currently paid below the recommended minimum level. This is an improvement on previous levels but still leaves many below the threshold of the recommendation. The survey also showed that demands on trainees have increased, which makes a fair level of pay more important than ever.*

“Many junior lawyers leave education with significant levels of debt – particularly where they have had to self-fund their Legal Practice Course – and it is important that they are paid a fair rate so they are able to repay that debt and meet their living costs.

“The JLD urges all employers to pay the Law Society’s recommended minimum salary and ensure that talented junior lawyers are not deterred from entering the profession because of their financial background.”

Notes to editors

Read more about our recommended minimum salary

*According to a recent Douglas Scott Legal Recruitment survey, over a fifth of trainees are being paid below minimum wage.

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