Skip to main content

Below minimum wage paid to one in five London trainees

Despite the legal sector’s ‘unprecedented wage inflation’, recent research has revealed that one in five trainee solicitors in London receive below the recommended minimum salary. 

According to Douglas Scott Legal Recruitment, 20% of trainees who work in the capital receive less than the recommended minimum annual salary of £22,794.

With the average shortfall increasing from £2,816 last year to £2,914, the number of 

trainees in London who are paid less than the recommended wage remained the same as in 2021, when it was also 20%.

However, it was found by Douglas Scott that the circumstances for trainees who work outside of London has ‘improved significantly’, with 16% earning less than the suggested minimum of £20,217 compared with 25% in 2021. The average deficit in pay for trainees working outside of the capital similarly dropped from £2,638 in 2021 to £1,452.

Douglas Scott’s study revealed that on average, trainees in London were paid £34,930, an increase from £32,190 last year, whereas the regions average salary climbed from £23,300 to £26,336.

It also discovered that pressures on trainees in London have risen, with junior lawyers in the capital working approximately 44 hours per week, compared with 41.5 hours per week in other regions.

Associate director at Douglas Scott, Jonathan Nolan, stated: ‘The last 18 months or so, the demand for talent has resulted in salary increases across all practice areas and job types. Legal is no different from other business sectors in that respect. The main driver for the increase in pay for trainees living outside London is likely to be trickle down as opposed to altruism.

‘Unfortunately, some of London’s law firms are failing to read the room, leaving many of its trainee solicitors living close to the breadline and I fear the next Law Society recommended increase, with inflation so high, will see many more fall below the threshold.’

A compulsory minimum salary was previously set by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, this was howeverscrapped in 2014 and the SRA now specifies that just trainees receive the national living wage.

Leave a Reply