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Solicitor: Salary and conditions

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  • The minimum salary for trainee solicitors that was set by the Solicitors Regulations Authority (SRA) was removed as of 1 August 2014. The requirement on employers is now that they must pay trainees at least the national minimum wage. Many will set salaries higher than this but it depends on the employer and location.
  • Salaries for qualified solicitors range from £25,000 to £75,000. Experience, type of cases and specialist area, location and employer can all affect levels of pay.
  • Partners in large firms or heads of in-house legal departments can earn in excess of £100,000. Equity partners will also receive a share of the firm's profits.
  • Long working hours are common. During busy periods, 12-hour days may be expected and 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 but may include travel to meet clients or to attend court. Overnight absence from home may occasionally be necessary.
  • 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, or in large 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, although firms may offer support to combat high stress levels.
  • 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 2015

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