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Private practice earnings survey 2015

19 September 2016

The earnings factsheet figures are based on a sample of 491 private practitioners who participated in the Society’s 2015 PC holder survey who: provided salary data, were working full-time, and were either on a permanent contract or at partnership level at the time.

  • The median average salary across all private practice grades in 2015 was £54,000 per annum, a 4.8 per cent increase on 2014 median figure.
  • Men on average, continued to earn more than women. The gender pay gap based on average (median) annual earnings across private practice solicitors was 19.2 per cent. The gender pay gap for assistant/associate solicitors was 10.6 per cent.
  • Post-qualification experience, tenure, size of firm, region, practice areas undertaken and hours worked are factors which explained a larger amount of variation in earnings than gender when other factors were controlled for (based on a standard OLS regression).
  • Median earnings within each private practice grade increased as size of firm increased.
  • Across all in private practice, median earnings were highest in Greater London (£76,000) and lowest in the East Midlands (£38,500). Outside of Greater London, median earnings did not vary significantly across aggregated regions; the South of England (£46,000), the Midlands and Wales (£47,000), and the North of England (£42,000).
  • Of solicitors doing any work in a particular practice area, those who specialised (spent 50 per cent or more of fee-earning time on the practice area) had higher median earnings than non-specialists across four of the eight practice areas (Business and commercial affairs, Commercial property, Employment, and Family law).
  • Across all grades, those undertaking any work for legally-aided clients had 32 per cent lower earnings than those not serving this client group. The largest differences were at equity partner level, with equity partners doing any legal aid work earning on average £70,000 compared to the £100,000 earned by their counterparts with no legally-aided clients.

Download the survey findings

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