SRA opts for £6.08 per hour for trainee solicitor minimum wage

  • Print
  • Comments (32)

Readers' comments (32)

  • How does this facilitate access or social mobility? It means those from poorer backgrounds surely are even less likely to be able to enter the profession when they can now be paid even less yet will have a heavier millstone of debt around their neck from the costs of training than might others. I qualified some years ago so it doesn't affect me remotely but think it's a negative move and can't really see any benefit to it other than huge savings for firms.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • The people who (a) compare law to other graduate jobs and (b) who say social mobility isn't important are misguide, short-sighted fools.

    At the end of the day (a) law isn't like other jobs. Irrespective of the fact law has a certain 'status', no other 'fresh otu of university' graduate job requires a £12 000 privately funded course - in fact, you could get 2 Master's degrees for that and become an academic if you really wanted to. Also, it creates the prospect of paralegals and secretaries being on more (or the same) as trainees when they haven't shelled out £ x xxx for the privilege - hardly a harmonious working environment or one that appreciates the level of education a trainee has gone through

    And (b) social mobility is important because law, like other professions, has to shake its elitist image and, as lawyers, we need a diverse profession that meets the needs of our clients, which is who we are there to serve.

    It's ok for people like me in the City but I do feel for others who, I suspect, will go to much smaller firms with no funded LPC.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • @Anonymous | 17-May-2012 10:53 am

    Yes, but you're forgetting no-one is forcing you to take on £40k+ worth of debt to realise your dream of being a solicitor you can equally choose not to do law and do something else which pays a reasonable wage for your degree education.

    Consider two examples: one completely self-funded student with no access to parental financing has got a good degree from a good university (paid for by student loans, part-time work, overdrafts etc.) and now faces a choice - do the LPC (£12-13K in fees alone + living cost) or do another job. If they elect to do the LPC then on completion they can choose between getting paid £6.08ph or again elect to get a different job and start paying off their debts. Ultimately, the student always has a choice. Let's say the student decides not to do law and gets a reasonable graduate job earning £20-25k.

    In another situation consider a student which has everything handed to them by their parents and then gets the same good degree from a good university, has the LPC paid for them and then takes a training contract which pays them £6.08ph. I'm not sure about you but personally other than being able to swan around at (budget) dinner parties and say "I'm a solicitor don't you know" the first situation seems much better to me.

    To those groaning about social mobility - you can never achieve 100% equality of opportunities, and its certainly not the SRAs job to make that happen anyway. Self-funders take on a risk when accumulating large amounts of debt (as does anyone taking on debt) and they need to realise that if £6.08ph is all you'll get at end of it - maybe it is not a great idea?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • The evidence on the impact of the minimum salary on social mobility is mixed. On the one hand it's abolition may lead to lower salaries for a minority of trainees but on the other hand it may lead to more trainee jobs being created. Those who criticise abolition have to explain why trainee solicitors should be unique in the workforce in having a salary fixed by a regulator rather than an employer. They also have to explain why it is OK for paralegals, who may also aspire to become solicitors, to be paid the statutory minimum wage but not trainees. The cost of the the LPC is no answer to this. There are many jobs where training has to be self funded and where post graduate training, with no guarantee of employment, is a necessity to stand a reasonable chance of gainng employment, in many cases in occupations with much lower long term salary prospects than solicitors and with equal uncertainty about the prospects of employment at all. Diversity is important but the answer to this is not a minimum wage for solicitors that is higher than for the rest of the population but a re-examination of the basis of solicitor training including a review as to whether the need to obtain a training contract is of itself a barrier to entry to the profession for those from disadvantaged backgrounds and whether there are better ways to train prospective solicitors. Such a review is now underway and those concerned to widen access to the profession would be better employed contributing to this debate than focussing on wage regulation which, at its best, is of marginal relevance to the issue. For details of the review see:http:// letr.org.uk

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Is it worth pointing out that £6.08 per hour is the national minimum wage (for non-apprenticeships)?

    Hopefully most small firms will be realistic and not pay trainees less than they would earn working in a local pub or supermarket.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • @ Anonymous | 17-May-2012 12:41 pm

    Your examples prove my point exactly...it will deter equally bright people (if not brighter people) from entering the profession simply because they're poorer and reduce quality as a result.

    You say everyone has a choice. Yes they do, and if everyone who is bright but unable to support themselves chooses not to be a lawyer, this will have long term implications for the number of lawyers and for social mobility. Not saying social mobility is the bee-all and end-all but things that have a high chance of reversing social mobility should be avoided. And as I have already said, the law is there to serve a diverse range of clients and needs to reflect such.

    Equally, if everyone of the parent-fund rich people chooses not to work for peanuts - same problem.

    Also, the anti-social mobility brigade may do well to remember that same said regulator recently elevated equality and diversity to a principle of professional conduct....

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • It is funny how some people on here say:"Oh but you don't have to go into law. Do another job so you do not have to face the debt etc..".
    What happens to the people who actually want to be a lawyer? Should we just say "Well, screw my dream and my ambitions and all my hard work. I am going to be a consultant and yet will always look back in misery and onto my grades which could have gotten me into a decent law firm if it was not for the monopoly of a few course provider who charge the world for the course."

    It saddens me, as a student who actually wants to be a lawyer, that our dreams and desires are just easily washed away in this discussion.
    Funnly enough, the solution is quite simple:

    Make a central, nationwide LPC exam. You do not have to go to a course provider for that but if you have the money or are not able to believe in your own abilities to prepare for the exam. The result from this nation wide LPC is then used as an indicator for future employers.

    It would:
    a) Destroy the monopoly of course provider to charge 12-16k
    b) Gives an considerably fair chance for anyone to at least try and attempt the LPC (even with a compareable low 2:2 degree)
    c) Nobody cries about a destroyed or financially troubled future even if you do not get a training contract since the nation wide LPC exam would not be charged with 12-16k

    It may not reduce competition but at least it does allow a fairer access for people from poorer backgrounds and people who are unsuccesful in securing a TC would not face a difficult life in regard to debt. I may be naive but I do not see how such a system could be any worse than the one we currently have. The only thing I see at the moment, as a person that knows legal training in other countries, is a protectionism of LPC provider by the SRA.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Some people forget that there are parts of the country where the pay is even less in the profession.

    The minimum salary for a trainee in Belfast is £12,400, rising to £14,040 in your second year.

    If you are purely in the profession for the money then you're better off deterred.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • £6.08 an hour is a wage - no more excuses for not paying overtime?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Some good ideas in response.

    Why not simply make the LPC and PSC a compulsory part of the Training Contract and something firms have to pay for?

    This way firms will buy into the LPC more, thus I expect driving down cost and increasing the value of the same by directly inputting on course content.

    In addition this then prevents the huge debt for those who can't afford it but deserve a chance based on ability. Also of course it would mean that you would have to get a Contract first so no more hit and hopes for people who in reality will never get one?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

View results 10 per page | 20 per page | 50 per page

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 (32)