The Law Society has recommended providers of training contracts and qualifying work experience (QWE) should pay aspiring solicitors £22,794 in London and £20,217 in the regions, ahead of the 1 September launch of the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE).
Society president, I. Stephanie Boyce, said the introduction of the SQE would be the profession’s “biggest change in 30 years”.
The Law Society has recommended those undertaking QWE be paid the same as those completing a training contract.
Boyce said: “As both schemes will run in parallel in the coming years, due to the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s (SRA) transitional arrangements, this update will ensure parity across both routes.
“The solicitors’ profession offers an incredibly fulfilling career. With the implementation of the SQE, firms should be clear that employees, no matter which route they take, will be treated fairly.”
The recommended minimum salary for trainees is updated annually. The policy will now be reviewed in June each year, with the revised amount coming into effect in September in line with the academic year/new trainee or QWE year.
The current rate was recommended in February and came into effect on 1 May. Employers were encouraged to implement the 1.1 per cent increase as soon as they could on or after this date, and at least within six months.
Increasing diversity and social mobility within the profession is a key focus for regulators and members of the profession alike. The Junior Lawyers Division (JLD) believe this policy will support these aims.
JLD chair, Manda Banerji, said: “Entry to the solicitors profession should be on merit only and an individual’s financial means should not pose a barrier for them to enter the profession; such barriers result in the profession losing talent and representation from diverse communities.
“The JLD believes that the implementation of a recommended minimum salary for those completing training will have a positive impact on social mobility, equality and diversity within the legal profession.
“The JLD is pleased to have worked with the Law Society to amend the recommended minimum salary policy to include those employed to undertake QWE under the new SQE regime so that those undertaking the new route to qualification are not disadvantaged. The JLD urges firms to adopt the recommendation.”