Trainee solicitors in Scotland should receive a pay increase in 2018/19, according to recommendations made by the Law Society of Scotland. The Law Society’s governing Council agreed that the recommended remuneration should be £19,000 for those in their first year and £22,000 for second-year trainees, increases of £1,000 and £500 respectively. The recommended rates, which will apply from 1 June, would reduce the gap between those in their first and second years, which had grown as a result of consecutive annual percentage rather than flat rate increases.
Narrowing the gap
Law Society President, Graham Matthews, said it was also important to narrow the gap between the trainee solicitor recommended rate and starting salaries for graduates in other industries. He said, “Trainee solicitors are an integral part of the profession and the traineeship provides a solid foundation of knowledge, skills and experience in preparation for rewarding careers. It is also important that they are fairly rewarded. Law graduates have a range of career options available to them, and pay rates must remain competitive if we are to attract the best candidates in to the profession.”
The new rates are advisory only, but provide a useful guide for firms and organisations employing trainee solicitors. The Law Society of Scotland says ultimately it is up to employers to decide, but the Society will not accept for registration any training contract below the living wage as set by the Living Wage Foundation. The number of training contracts registered with the Law Society during the 2016/17 practice year fell by 1% to 543. Around nine out of ten traineeships are paid at or above the Law Society’s recommended rate.