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Solicitor: Salary and conditions

  • The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) , an independent body of The Law Society of England and Wales , stipulates minimum starting salaries of £18,590 (recommended starting salary of £19,040) for trainee solicitors working in Central London and £16,650 (recommended starting salary of £16,940) for trainees working elsewhere in England and Wales. However, trainee salaries can be a lot higher and vary significantly depending on the location, size and nature of the organisation.
  • Salaries for qualified solicitors can range from £25,000 - £75,000.
  • Salaries for partners in large firms or heads of in-house legal departments can exceed £100,000. Equity partners' income will include a share of the firm's profits.
  • Salaries at senior level/with experience vary considerably, depending on the location and size of the firm, the solicitor's specialism, recent performance and level of seniority achieved.
  • Long working hours are common. During busy periods, 12-hour days are not uncommon and may involve early starts and working late. Weekend work may be occasionally required. Solicitors in the largest City firms tend to work unsocial and longer hours on a more regular basis.
  • Work is generally office based, although travel to meet clients or to attend court may be required.
  • Opportunities are available throughout the country although larger firms tend to establish their practices close to commercial areas and town centres. Most commercial firms are based in Central London, although there are opportunities in firms in cities such as Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, Bristol and Cardiff.
  • Part-time work and career breaks are sometimes possible.
  • Smart dress is expected when interviewing clients or attending court.
  • The work can be hard and stressful with long hours, although firms may offer support to combat high stress levels.
  • Travel within the working day is sometimes required, for example for court appearances or home visits to clients who are housebound. Overnight absence from home may occasionally be necessary.
  • Work in overseas offices may be possible, advising local clients on English, EU or foreign law.

Salary figures are intended as a guide only.

Written by AGCAS editors
January 2013

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