Money

Pay day for a GLD lawyer


The morale of government lawyers has hit "rock bottom" after a pay freeze by HM Treasury. 

Government lawyers have been worked to the bone thanks to Brexit. "The workload has been crushing and relentless at times for many" in the Goverment Legal Department (GLD) with "some working shifts on Brexit works, including the support staff", an insider told RollOnFriday.

Having "working their nuts off" for "peanuts" the GLD pursued a business case for two years with the Treasury to address issues concerning pay and recruitment. But in a "complete kick in the face" for the GLD lawyers, the case was rejected.

Management told all GLD lawyers and staff they would be subjected to a pay freeze for the next two years. The announcement was particularly clumsy, opined a source, as it contained a link to a charity to give staff financial support if they needed it. And also a picture of the "smiling, happy GLD executive board": 


HMRC

"Honestly, we're as disappointed as you : ) "


GLD lawyers cited other lawyers in the civil service being "paid significantly more”. 'Grade 7' GLD lawyers (which includes lawyers of around 3 to 12 years' PQE) are paid £50,000. But their legal peers in other government departments can earn up to £20k more. And GLD lawyers with a senior leadership role are paid £63,000, compared to elsewhere in the civil service where they can receive salaries of £80,000 to £90,000, said the source.

To rub salt in the wound, a GLD lawyer noted that another department, HMRC, had recently agreed a substantial pay rise for their staff of 13% over three years; despite making a case for a pay rise on "similar grounds" to the GLD.

"Truth be told I have no idea why anyone would want to work here longer than they have to", said a source who felt they were being shafted on pay. They added that, ironically, the department had published a "corporate vision" which stated the GLD was "a brilliant place to work...ensuring our people are fairly rewarded for the work they do".

A GLD spokesman said: “GLD has for some time pursued a pay business case with Cabinet Office and Treasury. The aim of the business case was to deal with some of the fundamental issues we face with pay and recruitment. The rejection of the case was based on a financial decision in the context of the current economic situation and public sector spending constraints." 

“GLD will now implement the Civil Service Pay Remit 2020 and will be utilising the full 2.5% increase allowable under the pay remit. GLD accept the decision and the reasons given, and continue to be committed to addressing the key issues with regard to recruitment and pay.”

A source said the pay remit was not cause for celebration since it related to the last financial year. And still had not been paid. “The last payrise I got was 1% in 2019”, he said. In which case, for the good of their health, GLS lawyers should not read this.
 

Tip Off ROF

Comments

Cal 05 February 21 10:23

I know some people won't be sympathetic but you literally have lawyers here with 10 years' PQE - super experienced in their area - on £50k.

Nobody leaves a Magic Circle/US firm for the Civil Service to be rich (and lots of people here are ex-City) but at least pay us the same as across the Civil Service.

In-house health warning 05 February 21 10:32

In-house is where legal careers go to die. You're a cost centre not a profit centre, you're looked down upon by your former private practice colleagues, and you rapidly become unemployable outwith other - equally vulnerable - in-house options.

GLD combines that with another crippling disadvantage: it's the public sector, where competence goes unrewarded and ignorance unpunished. If you're both (a) in-house; and (b) in the public sector, you have made your bed.

Let this be a warning to others: steer clear of both the public sector and of in-house jobs more widely. If, of course, you're motivated by "making the world a better place" or some other such happy-clappy vapid nonsense, do crack on and do what you want. Hopefully you're religious, so you can tell yourself that you'll get your reward in heaven. Don't whinge though when, in this world, economic reality remains, well, reality.

Grizzled civil servant 05 February 21 10:38

Honestly, we’ll have no teeth left if they keep kicking us like this.

I imagine some will read this and think, but you get a better work/life balance and don’t work crazy hours. To which I would say, HA. Who do you think drafts the coronavirus regulations in the middle of the night? Negotiated the withdrawal agreement and the trade deal? Keeps the ruddy country running during a pandemic?

All of this on top of the big boss having to resign last year because the government wants to redefine what “rule of law” means.

Morale isn’t at rock bottom, because there is no morale left. 

Wayward Lawyer 05 February 21 11:00

In-house health warning - what a crap piece of unsolicited advice. You seem to be the type of person who is absolutely incapable to put yourself in someone else's shoes, and who ultimately gives the whole profession a bad reputation. "Economic reality" is the same sort of crap that happened in 2007-2009 and so many times before. You seem to think there should only be City lawyers in the profession, and that anyone foregoing a City career to go in-house or government should gladly accept to be paid near nothing with a smile on their faces? Perhaps we should say the same about anyone who chooses to be a teacher, nurse, bus driver, etc? They shall never complain about wages as they knew what they were signing up for? 

Anonymous 05 February 21 11:05

@10:32 

You're chatting absolute sh1t.

I am inhouse and have a great legal knowledge of my industry. As an example, only earlier this week while on a call with the other side, I had to educate a partner at a top 25 firm who was completely wrong on the position of the law.

Don't. Just don't. 05 February 21 11:10

I work for the GLD. Genuinely, a nicer bunch of people you could not find, but most of that is down to a sort of blitz spirit and probably anti depression medication,  where we all know the top brass don't give a toss about us. The propaganda machine keeps churning out how much we are valued, whilst simultaneously trying to run litigation on a shoestring and shaft the staff at any possible chance.

 

 

Incidentally, our clients had their charge out rates increased a good few months back, presumably to cover off the proposed pay rise for the gld lawyers and administration staff.

 

I hope the GLD will now reverse the charge out rate increase. We are, after all, all in this together. Apparently. 

Anonymous 05 February 21 12:25

If you're not happy with your renumeration package you look for another role. Thats what most people do, Christ its not rocket science.
Or maybe in this instance it is

Anon 05 February 21 13:12

@10:32 - I am in house and, excluding those who have made partner at the largest firms, earn more than most of my private practice friends. Per hour, I earn insanely more.

Anonymous 05 February 21 13:29

Anonymous at 12:25, what a smarmy little comment. Obviously you are not a person who has ever had to make difficult decisions that account for any factor apart from money. If you think that money is the only thing in the world that matters, then your life view must be very easy. Unfortunately for other people who live in a more nuanced, real world, decisions are more multifaceted.

GLD is one of the only roles in the legal world that still offers some genuine flexibility around working hours and lifestyle. Who do you think that is important to? Women. Why do you think that is important? Because women still bear a tremendously disproportionate amount of unpaid work and childcare responsibilities. I have been in two different private practice law firms, and I have watched women be squeezed out in their mid thirties as soon as they start a family - that is because far too often, the "flexible" options offered by private practice are a fiction. Women usually agree to work part time for less pay, and then find themselves (a) doing full time hours anyway, for an pay-cut, and (b) looked over for promotion because they "took a step back" in their careers by going full time.

The does not happen at GLD, which is why you have so many women working there. But it is increasingly unaffordable for them to do so. If you earn £50,000 and are under 40 and trying to live in central London and sustain a family, it is almost impossible to do so unless you have a high earning spouse or money coming in from elsewhere. The pay is woefully inadequate when priced against London living costs.

You may not realise it, but arguments like "look for another role" don't work in the situation I have described. The options for women are either "leave GLD for a better paying role and give up your caring responsibilities (meaning you have to pay for additional care)" or "keep your family responsibilities but leave the law as a profession because almost no other legal job will allow you to juggle them".

I would LOVE for the solution to this problem to be a fundamental reorganisation of society so that women take on less unpaid care, but we have been wanting that to happen for several decades without result. Is it so hard to ask that another solution could be "pay highly qualified professional people an adequate amount for their expertise"? You seem to think so. Your black and white arguments are however, terrible.  

Anonymous GLD 05 February 21 15:06

As a GLD lawyer, all we have repeatedly asked for is pay equality with people at the same grades as us across the Civil Service - both in the legal sphere and in relation to our policy and operational clients and colleagues.

The rejection of the pay case is, as others have said, a let down and failing of leadership. We are yet to hear why the pay case was rejected by Treasury whilst colleagues at HMRC saw their pay increased. Bear in mine this isn't just lawyers: it's our support staff and our non-legal colleagues who help run the GLD. And whom are in many instances not as well paid as the lawyers.

The galling thing about internal communications on this is that the 2.5% pay ceiling permitted is not inflation linked. Therefore, an initial increase (whilst welcome) will be lost almost immediately. In effect our any 'increase' is actually a real terms cut in pay over a 2 year period. 

After the amount of work we've put in on Covid, Brexit, to support the economy (including the private legal sector), to deliver on the priorities of the voting public this news is disheartening and a further blow to morale after the past year (losing Jonathan Jones, fearing a threat of 'hard rain' and all else that has hit us). 

Anonymous 05 February 21 15:28

In-house health warning 05 February 21 10:32 < 

Could you at least name your firm so the rest of us have a chance of avoiding you?

Anon 05 February 21 16:44

HMRC lawyers were already paid significantly more than GLD lawyers so it makes the gap bigger 

Employment lawyer 05 February 21 17:08

It's worrying that lawyers working on matters critical to the functioning of the country and our economy are paid less than NQs at city firms. 

Anonymous 05 February 21 17:51

People who say "if you don't like the pay leave" show a complete lack of understanding of what government lawyers do, and the effect the role has on so many aspects of life in the e UK. You may think anyone who dares speak up about unequal pay should leave, but I don't think you will like the consequences this will have going forward. 

Anonymous 05 February 21 18:01

Re. Employment lawyer’s comment: yes, it is worrying. GLD lawyers are being asked to do more and more for less and less. There will simply come a breaking point where experienced people will leave, and GLD will find it increasingly hard to plug the gap left by knowledgable lawyers flooding out. They will have to spend more money on private law firms to get quick legal advice, which will cost a lot of money and often can’t even replace the standard of advice that a GLD lawyer would be able give, given the specialist considerations of working within government. Failing to pay people a decent wage is therefore a pretty false economy 

bobby 05 February 21 18:17

I work in GLD.  We had a pay freeze for a decade after the great crash and were hoping that we'd at least start to see our pay go up in line with inflation.  Instead we're seeing our pay effectively decrease while our workloads continue to increase and the demands increase.  The workforce is predominantly (60-70%) women, many with children.  Many are older, financially settled and have a higher earning spouse.  The ones that don't (particularly those living within London) must now be on the edge financially.  I know some who struggle to pay the rent every month.  I feel particularly sad for those of my younger colleagues pullnig the hours from their flat shares who will take this as a two fingered salute.

Pedro fīśh 05 February 21 18:41

I'm a gld lawyer, trying to get out, and I quite frankly cannot wait for the day that I tender my resignation  letter. Its so sad to see brilliant lawyers start out at the gld, aspirational, trying their best, and then to see them slowly lose motivation to the point they simply do the minimum.  

Anon 06 February 21 08:19

GLD lawyers could put their 2007 salary in the Bank of England inflation calculator to work out what their current pay, in real terms, would be if calculated in line with inflation (I think a G7 lawyer’s pay would be approx late £60s) 

Lets all do some yoga, that'll solve everything 06 February 21 09:27

Anon at 0819  I've just done that and the figure given, taking into account inflation, is £66,000.

Anonymous 06 February 21 10:34

“If you don’t like the pay, leave” is a great way to ensure nobody who has any prospect of making it in the private sector stays to work in the public sector. 

If you make that argument, don’t look around and wonder why everything is rubbish. 

Anon 06 February 21 10:56

Replying to let’s all do some yoga- very interesting so that’s essentially a £15/16k pay cut in real terms!

Anon 08 February 21 10:27

The biggest hypocrisy in all of this is that GLD keep banging on about increasing diversity and inclusion, when low pay is one of the biggest obstacles to that. If you're not fortunate enough to have a wealthy spouse, family money or income from elsewhere, it's very hard to live in or near London on the salary offered (and especially for junior people trying to get a foot in the door). Until they fix that, it's all lip service. I do think the GLD care about D&I, but it gets lost in wider govt spending considerations.

HOLA Lawyer 08 February 21 14:27

Senior management don't need to worry though. Despite years a foot dragging and stringing staff along from the GLD board and ministers the FDA Union made it very clear at the recent meeting that they are going to roll over and accept this and not even consider discussing industrial action with their members. The union must be in bed with the board, disgraceful. Ah well, at least I'm now saving £25 a month on membership fees that I wont be paying.

HMRC bod 08 February 21 15:37

@HOLA Lawyer... You are the Union.  HMRC has more union members than anywhere else.  Only the FDA staff know the percentage of staff who are members in GLD, but if they see its less than half, there's no way they can call a legal industrial action ballot, fact. 

Anon 08 February 21 15:51

That’s not true about the FDA meeting.  It is up to members, not the Convenor and National Officer.  Today was just to explain what had happened and listen.  All options are on the table.  There has never been a more important time to try and increase union membership and work with the PCS to hit where it hurts.  Refusing to work for free and working only contractual hours is better than a strike.  Non union members would follow suit as would get fed up with picking up all the work and if we all pulled together, including all the PCS they would be in an impossible situation within the month.

Anon 08 February 21 15:51

That’s not true about the FDA meeting.  It is up to members, not the Convenor and National Officer.  Today was just to explain what had happened and listen.  All options are on the table.  There has never been a more important time to try and increase union membership and work with the PCS to hit where it hurts.  Refusing to work for free and working only contractual hours is better than a strike.  Non union members would follow suit as would get fed up with picking up all the work and if we all pulled together, including all the PCS they would be in an impossible situation within the month.

Orange Bandanna 08 February 21 17:12

Utterly unsurprised by this.

I loved my time working for the GLD. I was surrounded by clever, hardworking, decent people, doing the kind of work I would not have been allowed anywhere near in private practice. My career and my confidence blossomed there.

But after a couple of years it was obvious that there was no prospect of a meaningful pay rise, and no way for someone (however talented) to get fast tracked for promotion. I was also resentful about the fact that there were incompetent people at the same grade as me who were sitting at the top of the pay band and getting paid significantly more than me, purely because they had been at the same grade without being promoted since well before the pay freeze in 2011.

The GLD (and the civil service generally) is full of talented, knowledgeable people working themselves to the bone on Brexit and Covid. Their jobs are important, and their experience is invaluable. Refusing to compensate them adequately is a massive error of judgement.

Yeah 08 February 21 20:02

Well there are very good lawyers in the GLD and some very bad ones. No difference in pay, so why bother with extra hours or doing a good job? Only mug would cover more than the bare minimum and the rest are looking elsewhere. GLD are badly led and taking the piss out of its own staff. Lawyers who can’t negotiate a pay rise? Work elsewhere. Government work is difficult. You will find something else. 

 

 

Anon 08 February 21 21:09

People need to make sure they are aware of their Trade Union Reps within teams and ensure all their teams are aware of how to join the union so Industrial action can be voted on (doesn’t need to be strike - can be not working a minute over contracted hours given currently and especially over last few years Gov lawyers have been on their knees). Hopefully the link can be sent in TWIB so people can join and are aware how to join. You hardly get told anything about the Unions at GLD. A lot of people aren’t even aware a Union exists. 

Anonymous legal aid lawyer 08 February 21 22:47

Right, right, but what do you think legal aid lawyers earn? The people on the other side of cases to GLD? We'd be lucky to earn 50k, I assure you, plus there's the constant stress of GLD's client trying to make your job obsolete by cutting legal aid/repealing the human rights act/'reform'/slagging you off to the media so you literally feel threatened to go to work. As a legal aid lawyer I have to do most of my work at risk of not being paid due to legal aid reforms and the LAA's own delays/incompetence. Nor are GLD the only ones who stay up late at night to work on cases. I have had colleagues leave to go to GLD for the better pay/conditions and I absolutely don't blame them. Of course conditions at GLD might be tough, and if some people have it harder it's no excuse for levelling everyone else down, but it reads very silly to complain about being on 50k

Orange Bandanna 09 February 21 09:43

@Anonymous legal aid lawyer

You sound like an exploited minimum wage worker who has been conditioned to blame immigrants for their problems rather than the people actually at fault. Why are you trying to make this into a battle between government lawyers and legal aid lawyers rather than directing your anger at the people actually to blame?

Anon 09 February 21 10:30

I think the point is that they broke the deal. Lots of ex City in GLD who didn’t want weekends and had a public service ethos. These are great people, but you can see them heading for the door. Their ability is not recognised meaningfully - bonus amounts are derisory in addition to pay going nowhere.

The big issue has been the rate of pay that does not reflect experience. That puts you on the same level as a very inexperienced person. Government lawyers aren’t much good until two years when they have learned the ropes. Some of our hires are terrible - you have this terrible combination of very good people and then really poor people who add to the work. You can end up taking their share because of management. 

MOJ Lawyer 09 February 21 11:06

Those who work for the HMCTS arm of the MOJ are paid significantly lower than the GLD. Starting at 30k not even depending on experience, senior lawyers earning £45k max with very limited increases for years 1-2% at best, no bonuses. 

Yes we get flexibility, other benefits such as sick pay/parental leave are greater than private practice, but equally we are putting ourselves on the front line in courtrooms at risk everyday of getting Covid. 

 

 

 

 

Anonymous 09 February 21 12:36

Anonymous legal aid lawyer: "it reads very silly to complain about being on £50k". I am not sure you know what you're talking about? The average cost in 2016(!) of a one or two bed flat in zone 2/3 in London was £475,000, which would give you a monthly mortgage of about £1,500-£2,000 per month. If you need to pay for five days of childcare, then the cost of that is another £1,000-£1,500 per month. How much is monthly take home on £50k? £3,000. So that leaves you either with no money at all, or a couple hundred pounds to play around with at the end of each month for food and bills. Wow what riches!

So what are your other options? Rely on your higher earning spouse or external income (e.g., family loaning you money for a deposit)? What if you are a single parent, or don't have a rich family? Should you move out of London? OK, that's a £20 daily commute in  from outside of the M25 (more than £3k per annum), and how do you balance a long commute home with childcare commitments when you have to pick them up from their nursery at 5pm on the dot, or face a daily penalty of £20? Should you cut back on work so you can do your own childcare and only pay for a nursery three days a week? Ok then, but then if you are working three days a week, your pay is cut back, so you aren't saving money doing this anyway. 

Also, does it really help your cause to say "my pay is worse, so you should just pipe down and stop complaining". Why can't the solution be "we *both* deserve a pay rise to support a sustainable kind of living" and that you defend GLD lawyers in their quest for fairer pay? You think legal aid lawyers are underpaid, I absolutely agree, and would support you in your case for better wages. It's really not a competition about who has it worst and therefore, the most right to complain. You are treating the GLD pay case as if it's mutually exclusive to asking for better pay for legal aid lawyers, when it's really not at all.

Anon 09 February 21 14:29

Legal aid lawyer, I sympathise with your situation but the fact that you are treated even more badly than GLD lawyers does not make GLD pay acceptable. £50k is a poor salary for a 10 year qualified lawyer, especially in London. Obviously civil service pay can’t compete with the private sector, but GLD pay is poor even compared with elsewhere in the civil service. So it is perfectly legitimate for GLD lawyers to complain about being on £50k, as it is simply not a proper rate for the job. I know your pay is worse, but as you say, that doesn’t mean everyone else should be levelled down. We all deserve to be paid fairly.

Anon 09 February 21 18:15

GLD lawyers are public servants, which is why, when private sector legal pay goes up, we should not expect the same. We are public servants, which is why, when the economy tanks, our pay is frozen for a decade. We are public servants which is why, if we are appointed to fee paid judicial posts, we are not allowed to claim the fees. (Yes, you read that right. Private sector lawyers can claim their judicial fees, our monetary reward for doing part time judicial work is precisely nothing.)

I'm a good experienced lawyer and I like a challenge. My reward is difficult demanding work of a sort that most private sector lawyers can only dream of, work of national importance.

If I do well in my appraisal my reward is £450 this year, and even that is being abolished next year. (Yes, you read that right. There will be fewer rewards for excellence from this year.) So from now on we must make the most of the occasional £100 voucher as a reward. (Yes, that is right. Do well on a project worth billions and your reward will be a £100 voucher.)

Any good lawyer in the GLD should be making plans to leave. Any good lawyer who joins should be making the most of the challenging and high profile legal work in order to plan their move out.

And anyone who holds on hoping that the Treasury will suddenly see the light has not been around long enough. If it is not a financial crash, or covid, it will be something else. There is vast amounts money for projects Ministers care about. There is not, and will not be, money for those of us who deliver them.

Peter Wood i see 09 February 21 18:24

I see the previous treasury solicitor  has picked up this issue on his twitter page and appears to be full of sympathy.....

Anon 09 February 21 18:26

The directors at gld have made the situation worse by telling the clients that they cannot reward hard working staff with extra bonuses. Supposedly on diversity grounds. They didn't fight for us and levelled down the already atrocious pay

Anon 09 February 21 20:18

It is just painfully obvious what GLD lawyers should do - just ask inane questions that a newly qualified person would do and be slow. You are paid the same as them. GLD relies on the experienced people to get things done, while also exploiting their experience. I doubt they can complain about this as the criteria they assess you on makes no mention of experience - its literally irrelevant to what you are paid, the assessment of your performance or the job you get. So don't bring it - they want it but they won't pay. 

Anon 09 February 21 22:07

I suppose at least now they can’t say it’s a great place to work to outsiders. That gets really tedious - 50k to deal with political egos and special advisers? No. Give me bona vacantia

Anon 10 February 21 12:55

GLD is an extreme example of a protracted erosion of public sector services that has been going on under Conservative governments since Thatcher. It is now particularly noticeable that the lack of pay and reward has led to Whitehall being hollowed out in terms of genuine leadership capacity and expertise. We now have people holding Director and Deputy Director posts in the civil service (massive jobs by any private sector comparison) but being paid as little as £65k to £75k. As a result very few of them have the requisite depth of experience or expertise. I feel this has been a significant factor in why central government’s response to the pandemic has been so inept. The one effective part of the response (vaccine roll out) has been delivered by local government and NHS where comparative salaries for senior managers are much higher and private sector consultants have (in the roll out) been completely marginalised.

GLD seems to be extremely bad on pay and reward. As other contributors have noted it relies on the fact that it offers really good quality work and flexible working but if you are not feeling the benefit of flexible working (which mainly benefits working patents) you are just extremely overworked and extremely underpaid. My advice to anyone in GLD (or thinking of joining GLD) would be go and work there for a few years, absorb the quality of the work and then leave. Promotions are only handed out to those, in classic civil service terms, who talk the talk (rather than walk the walk) and are on message corporately and/or have Oxbridge degrees. 

Orange Bandanna 10 February 21 16:01

"My advice to anyone in GLD (or thinking of joining GLD) would be go and work there for a few years, absorb the quality of the work and then leave."

That's exactly what I did, and I'm very thankful for it. Thankful I got in when I did, and thankful I got out when I did. But it's a terrible shame, because it's something which could - and should - be an attractive long term career option for talented lawyers who want to do something genuinely worthwhile and interesting.

Anonymous 10 February 21 19:58

20 year govt lawyer here, ex Magic Circle and US firm.  The reason I continue to work for GLD is the quality of the work and the humanity of the team level management.  I have conditioned myself since 2010 to zone out of any discussions on pay to avoid feeling angry and stressed.  I know I can leave if I want to. Those in this thread who think the problem is GLD senior management or that they have negotiated poorly don't understand the hand they have been dealt.  There is much to criticise about the way GLD is run but the management is dealing with the consequences of political decisions going back 15 years, especially the decision to create GLD without properly funding it.  It cannot be emphasised enough that any negotiation that involves politicians is not a commercial negotiation and that the decision makers are not fully rational and can be relied on to be short termist.  In that context, GLD does amazingly well to make bricks with straw.  While there is a steady supply of bright young lawyers in search of intellectual stimulation, early responsibility and the thrill of being constantly involved in the biggest issues of the day, plus suckers like me to stick around and teach them, GLD will continue to struggle along.  

Anonymous 11 February 21 10:19

Anonymous at 19:58: you have been in GLD for 20 years, so I assume you are relatively well set up and financially stable (e.g., perhaps you bought a house before 2012 and have really benefitted from house prices rising, have older children etc.). You might not therefore realise t the effect that pay stagnation has on people who are younger and less financially stable than you. 

The problem is, this pay is simply terrible for diversity. You mentioned that "while there is a steady supply of bright young lawyers in search of intellectual stimulation" then GLD will be OK. However, with pay so poor and unable to sustain a life in or near London, the steady stream of bright young lawyers will continue to come from an increasingly narrow pool if the pay continues to go backwards.

The starting salary for a legal officer is about £40k, and they can expect that to go up to £50k after three years, and then stay that way for another three before they can apply for promotion. Living in London or the surrounding environs is insanely expensive and it's not realistic to expect that a 24 year old person joining the GLD will have any expectation of being able to pay their rent, bills, and other outgoings on those sums as well as save for a long term future without external financial assistance. That means a lot of people who come from lower income families will simply not be attracted to GLD as a career option.

Having interesting work is all very well and good, but it doesn't pay your landlord, allow you to save for a deposit, pay your bills or your children's nursery fees. The result of the pay continuing to effectively regress will be that those who work for GLD are those who can "afford" to do so. There will be far less diversity and you will see lawyers from wealthy families and who have external support choosing to work for GLD, whilst talented, poorer students look elsewhere because they don't see a financial future for them working for government. Tell me, is that a desirable outcome? The GLD is having a big push for diversity and continues to say how important it is that it becomes a more diverse institution. How can it do that when one of the biggest obstacles to this is pay? 

Anon 11 February 21 14:30

I was in GLD for a year. There was absolutely no work for anyone in my team to do and at no point did my manager try to do anything about this, she didn't even seem to recognise that it was a problem. I spent 12 months learning French and leaving the office each day at 3 to go swimming. It wasn't really a job.

This could have continued indefinitely had I not left. Much to my amusement I was even offered a bonus after 6 months (it was like 400 quid) which I was told reflected my above average performance - quite how, given I was doing literally nothing, I don't know. 

Nobody in the wider GLD seeemed to mind that about 20 of us (my entire team) were doing nothing all day. 

It was how I imagine jobs in Soviet Russia to have been. We pretended to work and they pretended to pay us. Seemed like a reasonable arrangement. There were people who made a whole career out of it. Didn't mind doing nothing all day I guess. 

Why the GLD which I experienced were paid any public money, let alone the pay rise employees on this thread appear to be advocating for, is quite beyond me. I mean the City and the bar have there drawbacks but at least there is some accountability there through paying clients. 

Also, you need to knock 20% off private salaries to get an effective public sector comparator. The pension contributions are equivalent to about that amount. 

Anonymous 11 February 21 15:57

Anon at 14:30: presumably you've never heard of such things as "Brexit" and "Covid 19", or read any of the comments above that outline what a large proportion of GLD have been pulling 50 hour weeks and working weekends? I don't doubt what you say, but I also think that experience is completely atypical. I have been in GLD for four years now, and not once have I thought "wow, what a laid back life for £50k". The opposite is true, and everyone I know (in my department and others) is working well over their contractual hours just to try and clear the decks before another wave of work crashes over and swallows them. Then top of that, you are also expected to contribute to significantly other "corporate" efforts in addition to your legal workload, such as being a "values" champion, to organise training sessions on inclusive behaviours, etc etc etc. These corporate commitments can swallow up hours of time every week. 

Like any job, there are slow times and fast times. I have worked in several private practice firms and I have had months (honestly months) where I had nothing to fill my days as the partners simply weren't bringing in any work. GLD has its slow times too when a department is a bit quieter, but those slower times don't exist post the 2016 referendum and Brexit. What you have described is the "Daily Mail" view of a civil servant's life, but it really doesn't reflect the typical lived reality of your average GLD lawyer.  

Anon 11 February 21 17:06

My experience of the GLD was much as described at 14.30. There was very little work going on. I left every day at 5. There was a lot of jobsitting throughout the organisation. Many people were serving time before retirement or had ceased to prioritise work. 

It really wasn't comparable with an elite law firm or, if I'm honest, anywhere with a culture of performance. It was fine if you just wanted a (justifiably modest) pay check. 

 

Working to rule 11 February 21 18:40

Well said anon at 1557

 

No more corporate contributions  from me from here on in. They want to pay us the minimum  then so be it, we will have to suck it up or leave, but its a two way street in the meanwhile.  Pay me the minimum and I will provide the minimum  in return. 

 

Its not even as if making an effort is rewarded. All for a love to shop voucher. Stuff that- they can keep it.

Anonymous 11 February 21 22:05

I've been working 10 hour days 6 days a week for nearly 3 years in GLD so I don't know where the ex-GLDers who sat around doing nothing were working.  Maybe work was kept away from them.  Also, pay that deters middle class Oxbridge/Russell Group lawyers will be good for diversity, not bad.  Since IMO there is **** all they can do about the pay situation GLD's obvious next move is to recruit from lower income Londoners and to go North.  The pay situation is sh*t and insulting but open your eyes to the world around you.

Anon 12 February 21 09:23

I think the point needs to be made that many other departments managed to get their pay case. And that depends on Ministers agreeing. In these cases they were approved, but not GLD. Those of us who work in Government know that you have to work very hard to get these kind of things through. Other departments managed it. Interesting that GLD failed.

There are lots of experienced people in GLD who have often made money before they come into government- it’s not them who are really being hurt by this. It’s younger lawyers who don’t have houses and great terms. 

Related News