Law Society recommends £500 pay boost for trainee solicitors
Trainee solicitors should receive a £500 pay increase in 2019/20, the Law Society of Scotland has recommended.
The Society’s governing Council has agreed a recommended remuneration of £19,500 for those in their first year for £22,500 for those in their second year, an increase of £500 on the previous figure.
The newly agreed rates, which will apply from 1 June, are advisory only but provide a useful guide for firms and organisations employing trainee solicitors.
The Law Society does not accept training contracts for registration where the salary is less than the living wage set out by the Living Wage Foundation.
Alison Atack, president of the Law Society, said it was important to narrow the gap between the trainee solicitor recommended rate and starting salaries for graduates in other industries.
She said: “Trainee solicitors are an integral part of the profession and the traineeship provides a solid foundation of knowledge, skills and experience in preparation for rewarding careers.
“It’s also important that they are fairly rewarded and remunerated for the work they do and there is a real need to narrow the gap between the salaries of trainee solicitors and other high-calibre graduates.
“Law graduates have a range of career options available to them, and pay rates must remain competitive if we are to attract the best candidates in to the profession.”
She added: “Our recommended rate is advisory only, but trainees will no doubt be pleased to know that we have raised the benchmark. We recognise that economic conditions remain difficult for many firms and organisations, and that they are under pressure to control their costs, including salaries.
“Trainees can offer real long term benefits to the organisations employing them, but unfortunately, some simply cannot afford to take on a trainee solicitor. The only viable option for others is to pay below the recommended rate.”
The Law Society added that it is still considering controversial plans to allow trainee solicitors to appear in court earlier than is presently allowed, subject to “robust safeguards and sign-off by a supervising solicitor”, which strengthens the case for narrowing the gap between first and second year salaries.
The number of training contracts registered with the Law Society during the 2017/18 practice year rose by eight per cent to 587.