Minimum salary stays despite opposition

The mandatory minimum salary for trainee solicitors – £10,850 or £12,150 in central London – is to be maintained despite the objections of 70 per cent of the respondents to a consultation paper sent out to the profession.

The Law Society council voted by a large majority last Thursday to maintain the minimum salary and the waiver for firms in special circumstances, pending a fundamental review of the training contract designed to look at how training standards and monitoring can be improved.

Simon Baker, chair of the training committee, said 69 per cent of those consulted had supported abolition of the minimum salary, but added that the trainee solicitors group had campaigned very strongly for its retention.

The report to council said there was evidence of a link between the quality of training and the low levels of salary offered to trainees.

Hannah Wiskin, chair of the trainee solicitors group, told the council the minimum salary acted as an “obstacle to poor training”, ensured that high-street practices did not lose out to large firms, and ensured that people of all backgrounds were able to enter the profession.

Martin Mears, who as Law Society president had tried to abolish the minimum salary, said he now believed the quality of training would decline without it. “If you don't have it, you create a proletariat of trainee solicitors and assistant solicitors,” he said.

But Trevor Murray stormed: “Council appears to be more frightened of the Trainee Solicitors Group than 70 per cent of the profession who had voted against it [the minimum salary] in the consultation paper.”