How Much Do Solicitors Earn
Many prospective lawyers choose to qualify as a solicitor as they see it as an exciting career path that is also very lucrative, however the costs of qualification are also very high making many prospective lawyers intrigued in how much solicitors earn. This article will lay all out and explain this.
A solicitor’s salary is not a definitive number but instead can depend on a large array of factors, these include but are not limited to:
- Area of expertise
The later a solicitor is in their career the more they can expect to earn. While there is no minimum amount for trainee solicitors to be paid, the Law Society do set recommendations of a minimum of £20000. However, in reality trainee solicitors often earn more than this, especially in London, the Magic Circle firms offer their trainees salaries of around £40,000 to £45,000 and the American firms such as Latham & Watkins pay their trainees up to £50,000. It is important to note that these firms are the elite firms across the whole world and operate in London, first year trainees for other firms (especially for those outside of London) tend to see salaries of around £23,000 to £28,000.
For those who are newly qualified they can see their salaries rise by a nice amount. When discussing Magic Circle firms their newly qualified solicitors tend to be paid £90,000 to £100,000 and American firms can even pay upwards of £100,000. Notably Kirkland & Ellis pay their newly qualified solicitors over £120,000. Outside of London those who are newly qualified are typically paid between £35,000 and £50,000. However, it is important to note that the higher salary a newly qualified solicitor is paid is usually reflective of the hours you would be expected to work. Magic Circle workers report working long and unsociable hours with a lot of unexpected work dropped on them last minute. So, the salary is high, but the expectations are there to match.
The more experience you have and the higher you move up the company, the more money you can expect. Salaries can massively increase across this time, outside of London solicitors with 4 or 5 years PQE (post qualification experience) can see salaries of up to £70,000 and those inside of London will see even larger returns.
Becoming a partner is the ultimate goal of most solicitors and due its stature and workload, partners can earn a lot of money. The average salary for a partner is almost £100,000 but those at bigger firms and in London can see massive remunerations of upwards of £200,000 and even more. Partners are very well paid and earn huge amounts.
The area of law a solicitor chooses to operate in can also have a large influence on how much they earn, the prices quoted above generally apply to those working in the corporate sectors in areas such as banking, finance, real estate, technology and more. However, it is not to say that solicitors who are not in these areas cannot be paid well, High Street solicitors do not deal with corporate law but instead focus their work on private individuals. They focus on areas such as:
- Wills and probate
- Personal Injury
- Family law
As their clients are not multi-national company they are not paid as much as magic circle firms or just corporate firms in general. As a result, they do not pay their staff as much as these firms. However, it is still a very lucrative business to work in. Newly qualified solicitors working in High Street practices tend to see salaries of £25,000 to £30,000 which while not as much as corporate firms, those working at High Streets tend to see a much better work/life balance. Similarly, to before, High Street solicitors see their salaries scale with the level of experience they have and can see their salaries rise to £35,000 and above.
While the cost of university and then the Legal Practice Course are high and prospective solicitors do take on a lot of debt in order to qualify the career path is very lucrative. Especially over the long term where you can see your salary rise to over £50,000 in 5 years or so after qualifying and the student debt can be repaid rather quickly.
The Legists offers a salary checker to compare the salaries of solicitors across the UK and the user can even filter by location. Furthermore, there are a range of opportunities to apply to for people at all parts of their career. Take a look at the jobs being listed to see accurate representations of the types of salaries that law firms are offering.
Overall, solicitors are very well remunerated and is a great career choice which a range of areas to qualify in.