The recommended rate of pay for trainee solicitors will not change for the coming year, the Law Society of Scotland has confirmed.
The Law Society’s governing Council has agreed that, in light of the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the recommended remuneration rate for trainees will be held at £19,500 for first-year trainees and £22,500 for those in their second year. The recommended rates of remuneration are effective from 1 June 2020.
Amanda Millar, President of the Law Society of Scotland, said: “The legal profession faces a huge amount of uncertainty during this difficult time and we are acutely aware of the concerns that law firms have about the impact that the pandemic will have on their businesses.
“This is why we have chosen to hold the recommended rate of trainee remuneration at its current level. It is important that we strike the right balance when setting the recommended rate. Trainees are the future of our profession and we want to continue to ensure that they are paid fairly for the work they do. However, we fully understand the pressure that firms are under to control their costs, including salaries.
“Our recommended rate is not compulsory. While trainees can offer a real, long-term benefit to the organisation employing them, we recognise that some firms simply cannot afford to take on trainees and, for others, the only viable option is to pay below the recommended rate.”
While the Law Society’s recommended rate of remuneration for trainees is advisory only, it is often used as a benchmark for employers, with more than 90% of trainees currently paid at or above the recommended level. It is up to individual firms and in-house employers to decide how much they pay their trainee solicitors, but the Law Society of Scotland will only accept trainee contracts that meet the National Living Wage, as set by the Living Wage Foundation.
Amanda added: “We know that the number of trainees entering the profession will be impacted by the economic downturn. Yet, trainee solicitors are an integral part of the profession and pay rates must remain competitive, if we are to attract the best candidates into the profession.”