RollOnFriday can reveal that Ashfords is offering full time paralegals just £12,500 a year: that's less than two thirds of what its local competitors pay.

The roles are being advertised in Bristol, Exeter and Taunton, and represent £40 in each paralegal's pocket for a day's work. Or in other words, about what an Ashfords partner (average drawings £239,000) would tip the valet to park his Porsche.

It's not clear how the paralegals are expected to survive on so little. As the average rent for a one bed flat in Bristol is around £580 pcm, RollOnFriday numberologists calculate that would leave a paralegal with about £11 a day for everything else.

And the jobs on offer are certainly not for kids straight out of school: the ad states that applicants should have a degree and / or the LPC, and ideally have relevant property experience.

    Ashfords yesterday

It seems clear that Ashfords' offer is way off the mark: Burges Salmon told RollOnFriday that its Bristol paralegals make "above £20,000", and Osborne Clarke said it paid "a starting salary of around £20,000".

The firm declined to comment.

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Anonymous 19 October 12 09:09

If anyone had any remaining doubts that law in this country has now been totally commoditised, with industrial logic taking over from any ideas of training, education or any effort to achieve even a modicum of parity in earnings among fellow professionals (as opposed to owners take all and workers get nowt), then they can now relax.

This is a race to the bottom in labour relations, (see NI story also), and we have not hit the murky terminus yet. Lawyers of the world unite and fight....or perhaps not...perhaps just join the job queue like everyone else.

Anonymous 19 October 12 10:03

First Group are advertising for bus drivers in Bristol.

Recruits are being tempted with earnings in excess of £18,000 - a second job for needy paralegals?

Anonymous 19 October 12 11:42

Ashfords appear to have a 'Sheriff of Nottingham' economic policy...

Suppose it keeps the drawings artificially high for the top few, albeit perhaps not a business model that is sustainable.

Crumbling pyramid anyone?

Anonymous 19 October 12 12:01


'not a business model that is sustainable'

I wish you were right, but the reality is that when the big ABS firms get going, eg Co-Op, AA, Saga, BT, to name just a handful of new 'industrial-size' legal players, then pressure on starting salaries for lawyers will be pushed further and further downward.

Anonymous 19 October 12 12:57

Starting salaries will be pushed down - but quality of service will spiral as well. Staff can't be motivated on a long term basis with peanuts instead of carrots. Shame on Ashfords - and may they suffer the consequences of their folly in the fullness of time.

Anonymous 19 October 12 13:45

I used to think that £12,500 was all the money in the world. Now it's a day's pay.

Sincerely Yours

Big Law Partner

Anonymous 19 October 12 15:00

Not bad for the South West - I bet they throw in a few turnips as well. The pay divide is massive solicitors don't get much more. BS ond OC aren't good comparisons!!

Anonymous 19 October 12 17:23

how about the London paralegals being paid national minimum wage? worse situation, I'd say....

Anonymous 19 October 12 20:26

I got £10,800 when starting there as a paralegal 8 years ago. Modern applicants don't know how lucky they are!

Anonymous 19 October 12 22:55

I can tell you that everyone there (apart from the equity partners) are paid poorly as well. Unfortunetely the "coup" in August has changed little, apart from partners being told what "strategy" supposedly means!

Anonymous 22 October 12 20:48

Unlike many other firms down here in Devon, they don't offer to pay for training either!

Anonymous 23 October 12 15:28

the thing is that so many law graduates are eager to get a foot in the legal industry that Ashfords will probably inundated with applications.....didn't expect a regional firm with more than one office to be so stingy thpugh!

it doesn't really get much better......just qualified and my NQ salary is £20K. and the min salary for trainees has been abolished. happy days eh?

Anonymous 23 October 12 21:10

I'd be amazed anyone is surprised at this. This is exactly the amount my firm started paying graduate assistants last year; the other big firm in our town pays exactly the same now. Seems to be becoming the industry standard.

Anonymous 24 October 12 17:05

Every 17-year-old budding lawyer should be shown such statistics, and warned that there is a good chance they might have to stoop so low as to earn less than a dustbin lorry driver for many years after graduation, in addition to having to pay off a staggering debt. I'd rather try and start my own business than prostitute myself to some law firm for such a meagre return.

As for the point about Co-op et al contributing to further decreasing salaries, I'm not so sure. Co-op in Bristol pay paralegals up to £25k a year, so I'm told. Law graduates still prefer working for traditional law firms - but if Co-op continue to pay decent salaries in comparison, more and more will flock to them and private practice will have to eventually pay more, or face asking secretaries to do the work. Oh wait...