The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has raised its minimum trainee solicitor salaries by 4.3 per cent across the board in line with inflaction.
London-based firms must now pay trainee solicitors a minimum of 18,420, up from 17,660 last year, and firms in the rest of England & Wales must pay trainees a minimum of 16,500, up from 15,820 last year.
Kat Gibson, president of the Law Societys Junior Lawyer Division (JLD) said: I believe that the increase is far better than it has been for some time, though of course we'd all like to get paid more.
However, although many firms pay at levels above the SRAs minimum, Gibson said that there is no protection whatsoever for paralegals and Legal Practice Course (LPC) graduates looking for a training contract and working in the law.
Many firms still pay such individuals less than the trainee minimum salary, explained Gibson. These people are given a vague promise of a training contract in the future when they begin their employment but competition for training contracts is so high that this promise is valuable and will see the individual working for almost nothing in order to one day qualify.
Therefore they work as paralegals or legal assistants on very low salaries, sometimes for up to two years before the training contract materialises.
She said that this specific issue would form a future campaign point for the JLD.