The Law Society has recommended that firms pay trainees a minimum annual salary of £22,541 in London (previously £22,121) and £19,992 outside of London (previously £19,619). A rise of almost 2% compared with last year's recommendations.
The Law Society is encouraging employers to implement the increased rates from 1st May. However, as the proposal has no regulatory backing from the SRA, it's a bit of a chocolate teapot as firms can simply choose to ignore the society's recommended salaries. And many of them have in the past, including a Law Society President. Employers are only obliged to pay trainees the national minimum wage, like everyone else.
The Law Society brought in recommendations for minimum trainee pay in 2015 as a response to the SRA abolishing enforceable, regulatory minimum pay in 2014. Subsequent analysis has shown that trainees have been less well off and the profession has become less diverse after the SRA ditched minimum pay.
In its recent plea for minimum pay, The Law Society cited research by a legal recruiter Douglas Scott, stating that 29% of all trainees are paid below the Law Society's recommended minimum salary. And those in the regions are hit hardest in the pocket with 35% of trainees paid below the recommended wage.
A firm manager files The Law Society's letter for minimum pay
"Many junior lawyers leave education with significant levels of debt, particularly where they have had to self-fund their Legal Practice Course," said Junior Lawyers Division Chair Charlotte Parkinson, "it is important that they are paid a fair rate and able to repay that debt".
"The JLD urges all employers to pay the Law Society's recommended minimum salary," Parkinson added, to "ensure that talented junior lawyers are not deterred from entering the profession because of their financial background."
If you're a trainee paid below The Law Society's recommended salary, let us know your measly deal.