A minimum salary. a necessity or should it go?


It’s reared its ugly head again: the Law Society’s minimum salary – currently £18,590 (London) and £16,650 for trainees working outside of London. It’s controversial stuff and raises strong emotions from law students and law firms alike. And rightly so.
Some firms take on paralegals (read: ‘wannabe solicitors’ if you care to) in order to avoid paying a trainee the minimum salary which they deem too expensive to fund; or else they choose not to. Many paralegals do the work that trainees would be doing had they committed to training someone up. But these aspiring lawyers will instead accept peanuts for pay – will little choice.  
Without the minimum salary would a firm have taken on a trainee solicitor instead of taking on a paralegal at a lesser cost? If so, there we have one more trainee without a training contract. Multiple that by hundreds, if not thousands – and we see the bigger picture.  
But this leads to another issue: would these aspiring trainee solicitors rather get their training contract completed but at a wage less than the minimum salary? The crucial questions here is: which of those could afford to do so? Which leads to that other burning issue of accessibility to the legal profession. 
Some young law students I know could not afford to work for much less than the minimum salary. But others can. That’s life sadly. And life is often unfair. I could not have qualified when I did had I not had a husband who could fund my basic living costs.  
But are those who can afford to train at a low salary in danger of being exploited by employers if the minimum salary did not exist? Is the current minimum salary helping prevent potential lawyers being exploited? 
The issue has been in the legal press time and time again over the past couple of years: desperate aspiring trainees working unpaid or low paid as paralegals – just to get their foot in the door. Or taking on any law related work or other experience – just to try to get an edge over the competition.
And we must not forget the huge debt many end the LPC or BPTC with. Working at a low salary prolongs the agony of debt – with no promise of a fat lawyer’s salary for years (if ever).
A minimum salary reduces the number of training contracts undertaken. It also undoubtedly minimises exploitation of some aspiring lawyers. But it means the pool of aspiring lawyers trying to secure a training position remains eye wateringly large.  
Removing the minimum salary would increase the number of training contracts, diminishing the pool of potential trainees desperate to secure a training position. But could exploitation of some trainees increase? If only the better off can qualify, the implications are pretty clear: the profession could in the years to come predominantly comprise of the white middle classes. And this would be a huge backward leap that no one wants to see in the 21st century.
And so we swing in roundabouts. What is the answer? I don’t know. The profession doesn’t know. I’m strongly of the view that reducing the number of LPC and BPTC places available will help. Further possibilities on a post card please.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

Review on best criminal Lawyer

If уоu hаvе bееn ассuѕеd of a crime or facing charges for vіоlаtіоn оf Arіzоnа’ѕ criminal lаwѕ, thеrе іѕ a сhаnсе of incarceration, an fіnе оr a соmbіnаtіоn оf bоth.…
View Post

What To Do With A Criminal Justice Degree

One question asked daily by students is “What To Do With A Criminal Justice Degree?“, Well, the fіеld оf сrіmіnаl juѕtісе іѕ a wіdе оnе; іt encompasses varied vосаtіоnѕ аnd offers…
View Post

Negligence and Liability Instance

  Many users are keenly interested to know about their negligent acts.   Here is some instance to know: Master liable – Carriage and horse: The defendant was engaged in…
View Post

Law Enforcement Degree Programme USA

Lаw еnfоrсеmеnt іѕ thе brаnсh оf the government responsible for maintaining peace and order іn ѕосіеtу. Juѕt like in аnу other рrоfеѕѕіоn, іt іѕ bеѕt for уоu tо have bаѕіс…
View Post

Top 10 Best Criminal Law Schools In USA

Gеttіng іntо criminal lаw schools can be a vеrу аrduоuѕ tаѕk fоr аѕріrіng students. You nееd tо ѕtаrt as еаrlу аѕ your frеѕhmаn уеаr in hіgh school іf уоu dесіdе…
View Post