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Trainees could earn £2.60 an hour, JLD says

26 March 2012

The Junior Lawyers Division (JLD) of the Law Society has said that trainee solicitors could end up earning as little as £2.60 an hour under the SRA’s plans to scrap the minimum wage.

Heather Iqbal-Rayner, vice chair of the JLD, said trainees could be classed as apprentices in their first year under the national minimum wage regulations.

“The profession has a good, recent record on attracting a more diverse range of entrants,” Iqbal-Rayner said.

“Scrapping the minimum salary for trainees could set back that progress and make the solicitors’ profession the preserve of the rich.

“Only those well off will be able to afford to live on what equates to a less than £5,000 annual salary.”

Under the proposals, trainees will have to wait for their second year of training before being entitled to the standard minimum wage of £6.08 an hour, equating to an estimated £12,000 per year.

Meanwhile, Camilla Graham Wood, an executive committee member of the JLD, said the regulator’s timing was “atrocious” in launching its consultation on scrapping the minimum wage and called for the process to be delayed.

“The reasons for not consulting on this now far outweigh the reason for doing so, apart from the obvious fact that the economic climate remains unstable, there is also the uncertain matter of what impact alternative business structures will have on trainees and their pay,” she said.

“Add to that the potential fall out from the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill and its impact on young lawyers working in legal aid and it is clear that the timing of this is atrocious.”

Graham Wood said that at the very least the SRA should wait for the outcome of the Legal Education and Training Review before contemplating putting a removal of the minimum wage on the agenda.

Categorised in:

Education & Training Legal Aid