Legal Recruitment from Ten-Percent Legal

Friday, February 15, 2008

Trainee Solicitor salary levels

"I am well aware that the big city firms pay the most to trainees and qualified solicitors. However does this mean that high street and medium sized firms pay much less, not just to trainees but also to qualified solicitors?"


Absolutely! When you read in the newspapers about a law firm in central London paying a newly qualified solicitor £60,000pa at qualification date, it does not have any reflection on the vast majority of law firms pay in the UK.

The reality is something different.

On the high street, usually only partners get £60k unless a solicitor is doing particularly well, and most solicitors will be earning less than £50k.

Newly qualified solicitors usually get paid anything from £19,000 up to £30,000 depending on the field of law and the quality of the work a firm is getting. LSC funded work (legal aid) is usually the poor cousin, and most solicitors are still under £30k after 2 years post qualification (PQE).

There is a reason firms pay so much in central Londonfor the 300+ lawyer firms, and it usually relates to the pound of flesh the solicitor has to give in return. A lot of high ranking firms expect serious hours to be put in, and these are often quite out of the ordinary, with horror stories of 18 hour days for 4 months circulating. However, salaries of £300k are not exceptional these days after 6-7 years PQE..

Our company ( gets a lot of queries from city lawyers wanting to get out of the Magic Circle, and go into high street practice, and usually the way we halt them in their tracks is to ask what salary they could comfortably live on, as they are often in cloud cuckoo land as to what the remainder of the profession actually earns...

Jonathan Fagan

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