A survey of over 500 trainee solicitors has found that around 25 per cent are being paid below the Law Society’s recommended minimum wage. This is an improvement over the last three years, from 38 per cent in 2018, 35 per cent in 2017, and 31 per cent in 2016.
Currently, recommended pay for trainee solicitors is £21,561 in London and £19,122 everywhere else. These recommendations were at one point law, but due to criticism, they became voluntary pay levels.
Douglas Scott, the legal recruitment agency who led the survey, stated that the higher percentage of those earning more than the recommended wage nationally is mainly due to the improvements in regional remuneration. Last year 41 per cent of regional trainee solicitors were being paid below the recommended minimum salary, which has fallen massively to 26 per cent.
The survey also found that working hours for trainees were slightly down from 43 hours a week to 42. In 2018, 21 per cent of those that took part in the survey stated they worked over 48 hours per week, while 17 per cent said the same this year. Those trainees based in London work an average 2.5 hours longer each week than their regional counterparts at 44 hours per week.
A slump in average pay for trainee solicitors was found last year in a Solicitors Regulation Authority impact study, as well as a widening of the gender wage gap.
Associate Director at Douglas Scott, Jon-Paul Hanrahan, has said: “This is good news, we have been tracking trainee pay awards for some time now and this year does feel different. Law firms have reacted positively to criticism, as our research also revealed that 45 per cent of trainee solicitors received a pay rise this year compared to 35 per cent in 2018 and for many it brought them above the threshold for the first time.”
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