The Solicitors Regulation Authority has published a dire warning on its website, telling wannabe solicitors that they may be paid just £2.60 an hour during their training contracts if the national minimum salary for trainee solicitors is abolished.

The SRA is currently consulting on whether the minimum salaries (currently £18,590 in London, £16,650 elsewhere) should remain in place. A minimum salary for trainee solicitors has been in place since the early 90s, and was introduced to encourage top quality graduates into the profession and to "protect trainees from exploitation". An unmitigated success, then.

Earlier this week, the consultation paper was updated, noting that - were the minimum salary to be dropped - law firms might be able to get away with paying their trainees National Minimum Wage. Worse, as a training contract would be categorised as an apprenticeship, the minimum rate would be £2.60 per hour*. But before law students start flogging spare kidneys, that amount will race up to £6.08 in the second year, which is enough put down a deposit on a cardboard box under a bridge. Or law students could just train to be electricians and not worry about student debt, professional fees and luxuries like food.

    All this could be yours.

Of course those at City firms earning graduate salaries way in excess of the trainee minimum won't be affected either way, although the irony is that when their working hours are taken into account, they probably earn about £2.60 an hour anyway.

* Although of course woe-betide any law firm which actually attempted to get away with paying that. Naming and shaming by RollOnFriday would be the very thinnest end of the wedge. Hell, we'd be sending out Red Cross parcels.
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Anonymous 23 March 12 09:22

Almost half of all trainees are on law soc minimum. If it were withdrawn, it would be expected that wages for a proportion would drift downwards. And noting the £2.60 rate wasn't scaremongering by the SRA, it was an acknowledgment of an error in their consultation.

Anonymous 23 March 12 14:34

Actually 70% of trainees are paid above the law school minumum according to the SRA consultation itself.

Anonymous 05 April 12 12:15

I wonder if they would make the law school fees drop in line with the salaries? That would be nice...

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