Trainee solicitors in Scotland should receive a pay increase in 2019/20, according to recommendations made today (26 April).
Our governing Council agreed that the recommended remuneration should be £19,500 for those in their first year and £22,500 for second-year trainees, an increase of £500.
President, Alison Atack, said it was also important to narrow the gap between the trainee solicitor recommended rate and starting salaries for graduates in other industries.
She said, “Trainee solicitors are an integral part of the profession and the traineeship provides a solid foundation of knowledge, skills and experience in preparation for rewarding careers. It’s also important that they are fairly rewarded and remunerated for the work they do and there is a real need to narrow the gap between the salaries of trainee solicitors and other high-calibre graduates. Law graduates have a range of career options available to them, and pay rates must remain competitive if we are to attract the best candidates in to the profession.
“Our recommended rate is advisory only, but trainees will no doubt be pleased to know that we have raised the benchmark. We recognise that economic conditions remain difficult for many firms and organisations, and that they are under pressure to control their costs, including salaries. Trainees can offer real long term benefits to the organisations employing them, but unfortunately, some simply cannot afford to take on a trainee solicitor. The only viable option for others is to pay below the recommended rate.”
While the newly agreed rates are advisory only, they do provide a useful guide for firms and organisations employing trainee solicitors. Ultimately it is up to employers to decide what to pay their trainees, but the Law Society of Scotland will not accept for registration any training contract where the salary is less than the living wage for those outside of London as set by the Living Wage Foundation.
We have plans to introduce new Admission Regulations. These regulations could allow the possibility of trainee solicitors appearing in court earlier than is presently allowed, subject to robust safeguards and sign-off by a supervising solicitor. This may enable trainees to earn income for their organisations and so we believe narrowing the gap between first and second year recommended salaries is sensible.
The number of training contracts registered with the Law Society during the 2017/18 practice year rose by 8% to 587.