SRA mulls end to minimum pay for trainees

  • Print
  • Comments (7)

Readers' comments (7)

  • Sounds like it may at least encourage more firms to start setting trainings contracts, as we all know we need more of them! At least we'll be protected by the statutory minimum wage, or at least until the ConDems abolish that as well for being too freindly to the poor and the masses.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • This would be a complete disaster for those from poorer backgrounds or those who have converted to law and taken out loans that have to be repaid.

    The SRA minimum salary is low as it is... scrapping it will lead to firms offering paralegal salaries of around 10k. Inb London these traineeships may as well be unpaid internships and only those who can rely on bank of mum and dad will be able to realistically afford to do it.

    If the SRA scrap this then they will be a good as saying that they don't care at all about diversity of background in the profession.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • As a trainee on the minumum reducing it WOULD further limit access to the profession as I have to subsidise myself significantly with savings and other friends are in frightening amounts of debt. I am about to qualify and will immediately have to leave the profession as I have sadly realised I cannot afford to remain on the mid £20 k qualified salary I will be offered. Reducing the trainee minimum will mean firms currently paying this could now pay £12 k for trainees and £15 k for NQs, people who are likely to be £20-50k in debt!!!

    As for needing more training contracts - I am fed up with this argument - there are no shortages of lawyers and not enough NQ positions for the trainees there are and therefore there is no need for any more TCs than there are, the law schools need to stop train.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • The current market for trainee solicitors is saturated. There are more individuals trying to enter the legal profession than there are training contracts available. Against the backdrop of intense competition for training contracts and a situation where students are more often than not funding their own legal training, the trainee minimum wage provides trainees with financial security, safeguards against exploitation (whether the direct exploitation of individual trainees due to an over supply of LPC graduates or firms exploiting the lack of regulation to drive down trainee salaries) and ensures that talented individuals from a wide background and experience are not deterred from entering the profession by an inability to meet their debts and/or greater salaries and professional standards in other professions.
    The JLD is concerned that if the minimum wage were to be removed for trainees, there would more examples of exploitation occurring amongst trainees, as the JLD is already finding with many work experience and paralegals. Individuals could find themselves encouraged or simply due to desperation forced to work for very low salaries or next to nothing (if not free). There is a danger that the future generations of the legal profession could be mainly populated by individuals from wealthy backgrounds who are able to accept low-salaried training contracts as they are in a position to receive additional financial support from their family to supplement their low wage.
    It is clear that the impact will have a devastating effect on the current lack of diversity in the legal sector. How is this going to help encourage those from disadvantaged backgrounds to pursue a legal career if they have more debt from university, debt from legal education and now could face an even harder struggle to have any prospect of paying off that debt, and in fact incurring more? This is in a situation where many trainees and qualified solicitors already struggle with the high levels of debt. We ask, in whose interest is it to scrap the minimum salary?
    That said, the JLD is committed to inviting debate and participating in consultations on the protection afforded by the minimum wage. However it has yet to be convinced by arguments suggesting that the minimum wage should be removed. The removal of the minimum wage would not only serve to restrict entry to those who could not afford the low wage, but it would open up trainee solicitors to further exploitation and the loss of talented individuals to other professions. It could also deter talented individuals from pursuing a career in legal aid and traditionally less well paid areas of practice.
    The JLD would also invite the SRA to extend its consultation to include individuals working as paralegals and those completing work experience programmes. Training contracts are often secured by undertaking work experience and/or work as a paralegal in a law firm. Therefore trainees should not be considered separately, but rather as part of the entire training process.
    The JLD will be responding to the SRA consultation proposals but welcomes feedback from other junior lawyers. Please therefore take the time to read the consultation proposals and send your comments by 12 March 2012 to juniorlawyers@lawsociety.org.uk

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • How out of touch with Trainee issues are the SRA ???

    To even suggest taking away minimum salaries is crazy, as other posters have said some firms will exploit this and use trainees desparate to qualify as cheap labour!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • If anything the minimum salaries should be increased. I know admin assistants/PAs with no degree or post graduate education who earn more than £16-18K.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I understand the issues with debt etc, but aspiring lawyers need to realise you are going into a trainee job - you are not a lawyer, your theoretical knowledge does not equate to that of a solicitor even the slightest bit. Think of the strain on resources you will cause by being hired: constant supervision alone will use up several hours of very busy partners time. How can you justify that you should be paid more?? But having said that, the SRA need to take into consideration that because of current edcuation costs they are sending grads into law firms who will potentially have to pay back £300 in loans each month. That figure needs to be added to the minimum cost of living in the City. Of course it would be nice to be paid more, but there are plenty of people who have worked there socks off with other degrees and qualifications and don't have the dandy £36k salary at the age of 22.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

Mandatory Required Fields

Mandatory

Comments that are in breach or potential breach of our terms and conditions in particular clause 8, may not be published or, if published, may subsequently be taken down. In addition we may remove any comment where a complaint is made in respect of it. These actions are at our sole discretion.

  • Print
  • Comments (7)