lawyers strike pic

Lawyers will be lawyers, even when protesting

Senior government lawyers have been offered a 16% pay rise over two years. But the lowest-paid lawyers and non-lawyer staff have been excluded from the offer.

The rise for seniors comes after 30% of Government Legal Department (GLD) lawyers said they wanted to quit their jobs over poor pay, in a recent survey. Salary has been a sore point for GLD lawyers for some time, and a number of them accused the government of pay discrimination last year.

A senior GLD lawyer told RollOnFriday that they were "happy...for once" with the "positive" pay rise. The insider shared an internal email with RollOnFriday, stating that Grade 6 and 7 lawyers have been offered “average pay increases of 8% per year for the next two years" to run from April 2023, in addition to the 3% increase which was brought in last August.

However, the source added that "the fly in the ointment with the announcement is that the cabinet office and the treasury have excluded the lowest paid from this pay award" who will "only get the standard 3% pay award".

"Whilst I am relieved and happy I'm going to be getting a significant pay rise," the senior lawyer told RollOnFriday, "I feel absolutely appalled for the lowest paid members of staff in the organisation who mostly do a fantastic job for shit money." The source added that "the lowest paid have been totally shafted," as those lawyers and non-legal staff, who make up over a third of the GLD workforce, will miss out.

In the internal email to GLD staff, seen by ROF, Susanna McGibbon, the permanent secretary, said that although the pay offer for seniors was a "positive achievement", she was "sorry that it falls short of our full case which sought significant improvements for all colleagues.” She added: “The Executive Team and I know how disappointing this will be to many of you and we share that disappointment.”

The deal, which is subject to consultation with the trade unions, would see junior lawyer salaries in London increasing to a minimum of around £61,000 (currently £52,015) up to a maximum of £74,000 (currently £62,830). Outside London, the salaries for juniors would increase to a minimum of around £59,000 (currently £50,455) up to maximum of £71,000 (currently £59,740).

Senior lawyer salaries in London would increase to a minimum of around £74,000 (currently £65,647) up to a maximum of £83,000 (currently £77,456). Nationally, senior lawyer salaries would increase to a minimum of around £71,000 (currently £62,348) up to a maximum of £80,000 (currently £73,130).

A GLD spokesperson told RollOnFriday: “A pay offer has been agreed for some lawyers across Government Legal Department, in order for Government to have access to the legal talent it needs. No new money has been allocated for this increase, which is being funded through efficiencies."

RollOnFriday contacted the FDA, the trade union representing civil servants about the GLD offer, but the union said that it could not comment at this stage, as the negotiations for the pay deal were yet to commence. 

The pay negotiations for lawyers comes at a time when the government has had to deal with discontent staff walking out over pay (or threatening to do so), across the public sector: including nurses, firefighters, teachers and criminal barristers

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The gh0st of paul jenk1nz 24 February 23 10:41

At last- GLD realise that lovely emails and fuzzy heartfelt messages don't pay the fucking mortgage/nursery fees/utility bills or put food on the table. 

No surprise the lowest paid were chucked under the bus really though. Shameful.



Former Government Lawyer 24 February 23 11:12

Worth noting that the only lawyers who are not Grade 7s and above are trainees and NQs. Everyone (save for those who perform dreadfully during their training) gets promoted to G7 at PQE1. Whilst it is a shame for the NQs and trainees, they will get the benefit of this pay increase soon.

Bill McCulloch 24 February 23 12:18

Do you have to be a lawyer or a criminal barrister to get anything from your Tory pals ?

Someone who looked at being a government lawyer 24 February 23 12:21

Also worth noting that non-civil servants wanting to join the GLD are given this pointlessly long probation period where they must be a "legal officer" before they are promoted to "lawyer", and are pinned at being at very bottom of the pay band.  It's really off-putting.

I'm G.L.D. - I'm dynamite! Oi! 24 February 23 12:30

"No new money has been allocated for this increase, which is being funded through efficiencies."

Be interested to see how the maths stacks up ... you can find efficiencies sufficient to fund fixed cost rises of "16% over two years"?

If so, what's taken you so long? Who runs an organization like this? Where are these magic efficiencies coming from - variable or, ahem, other 'fixed costs'?

Chinny 24 February 23 13:15

Working for the GLD is absolutely not worth it, neither the peanuts nor the abuse will pay your bills

G.L.Who? 24 February 23 14:54

Before you all get too carried away, read the (sparse) small print. The payrise is linked to "capability", so no new money means some people are classed as meeting the required capability and get the rise, others are not and don't. The award is an "average" of 8% per year for 2 years. By definition, a number of people won't be getting that much. GLD have only presented the feel-good headline so far. It won't looks so good when the detail comes through.

Don’t Forget to Bring a Towel 24 February 23 23:43

If you aren’t confident of being at least average in the GLD, you should probs look at a new profession.

Anonymous Anonymous 26 February 23 17:41

Look to the future: Robot lawyer that drafts legal contracts in the offing after chatbot deal

Round of funding follows heightened interest in AI driven by the virality of ChatGPT.

Google the story. Interesting news. How much will the legal profession earn?

Ballsy Associate 27 February 23 22:50

Can I ask why would you go into the public sector when you can earn £165k+ NQ at a US firm doing brainless work? Is it due to a sense of security or responsibility to the society? What is the motivation as I’ve been curious to learn more when I’m driving my Mercedes C63s (as a 6PQE) to meet my beautiful girlfriend from Malta. 

Nurses anyone? 28 February 23 07:30

Surprised this is not causing more controversy, bumper pay awards for government lawyers getting HMG off the hook, while other essential public servants are stuck on strike.

Also false to say no new money for this - GLD is putting up the rate they charge Government departments for their service, so every government department will be paying more to their lawyers from their budgets (even if GLD itself is not getting extra money from the Treasury)

Mr Blobby KC 28 February 23 20:14

What on earth does 'funded by efficiencies' mean? Elsewhere I read something about changes to terms and conditions. If so, must be something meaty. Cuts to redundancy payouts perhaps? 

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