Half of all trainees in the North West are paid below the Law Society’s recommended minimum salary, new research by the recruitment agency Douglas Scott claims.

The SRA previously set a minimum salary requirement, but this was abolished as of August 2014, to outcry from junior lawyers.

Last February Lawyer 2B reported that trainees are taking second and third jobs to make ends meet. In November 2015, The Law Society stepped in with a new recommendation that trainees should be paid at least £20,276 in London, and £18,183 elsewhere. However, this is only a recommendation and not a requirement.

Douglas Scott’s research suggests that, overall, 31 per cent of trainees are now being paid below the recommended minimum. In the North West that rises to 51 per cent. In the South West only 12 per cent, while 20 per cent of London-based trainees are paid below the recommended minimum.  

Douglas Scott director Jonathan Nolan said: “Budgetary pressures born of the ongoing liberalisation of the legal services market and economic uncertainty mean that law firms are engaged in a balancing act – they want to create opportunity but at a price they are comfortable with.”

“And in many cases we could just be looking at a housekeeping exercise – our data suggests that the vast majority of firms are respecting the [old] August 2014 mandatory minimum.”