The Truth About Solicitors’ Salaries in the UK
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Much is known about the role that solicitors perform – a solicitor is a legal practitioner who deals with legal matters in a variety of jurisdictions. Although we understand the role of a solicitor, little is publicised about their pay. For those who are considering a career in law, or who are interested in law salaries, we have compiled a host of figures and stats relating to solicitor salaries in the UK.
What is The Typical Salary of a Solicitor in the UK?
This is a broad question, but we can break down the figures and look at solicitor salaries depending on experience, location and specialization. In general, at its most basic, a solicitor’s salary can range from a low end of £23,000 up to a higher bracket of £60,000 per annum. These figures are pulled from a variety of sources including Total Jobs, Payscale, Real Business and All About Law. We have broken down these figures below and provided a comprehensive look at the different types of solicitor roles together with their expected pay:
– Trainee solicitor: £18,000 – £25,000
– Qualified solicitor: £25,000 – £40,000
– Senior solicitor/Partner: £60,000+
As you can see, the pay scale varies greatly and what you will earn in your first few years as a solicitor represents just a small snippet of your future pay packet. In terms of experience and years required, the following is a rough guide as to the stages of a solicitors career:
– Trainee solicitor: 0-5 years’ experience
– Qualified solicitor: 5-10 years’ experience
– Senior solicitor/partner: 10+ years’ experience
Solicitor Pay by Location
This is only a rough guide and progression and experience can very much depend on your own drive, ambition, and pace of learning. It is possible to become qualified and gain a huge amount of experience in a few years with the right attitude and opportunities. Geographical location can also have a huge impact on your potential earnings and career progression – the below illustrates the difference in pay between various UK destinations for solicitors:
– London: £72,00 average
– Bristol: £52,500 average
– Leeds: £47,500 average
– Nottingham: £42,500 average
– Manchester: £37,500 average
– Birmingham: £37,500 average
Generally, the national average is between £35,000 to £42,000, therefore, the highest earning potential is of course in London with other major cities trailing by a considerable amount. This higher earning potential in London, however, is offset by the higher cost of living in comparison. We see this in most employment opportunities and there is no real benefit to working in London as opposed to any other city in the UK except the improved infrastructure and support from the government.
Other factors that can affect solicitor salaries include relevant skills and the actual employee themselves. There is a range of skills that can benefit your role as a solicitor, some of which can improve your pay and prospects. Skills that can help include legal documentation reviewing, corporation involvement, commercial involvement, complex litigation case management, banking and real estate. If you have experience in any of these fields you could potentially look to specialize or have a greater skill set to offer a potential employer. In short, the more you can offer, the greater your potential earnings.
Who Pays The Best Salaries For Solicitors?
In terms of high-paying law firms, there are several who consistently offer top salaries. We have listed some well-known firms who pay their solicitors well above the national averages:
– Latham & Watkins (Average salary of £107,000)
– Allen & Overy (Average salary of £79,000)
– Linklaters (Average salary of £71,000)
– Hogan Lovells (Average salary of £72,000)
– Herbert Smith Freehills (Average salary of £69,000)
There is, of course, the fabled 5 Magic Circle law firms too but the above firms are potentially more realistic for newcomers to the industry. Larger firms such as the above generally offer a greater earning potential as they have more resources and a larger client base. Private and independent firms may not be able to offer as higher wages but could offer greater flexibility and a great amount of freedom and job variance.
We hope you have found this guide useful. Becoming a solicitor is a truly worthwhile career that can present many opportunities. The UK has a well-developed law industry and a vast array of law firms looking for both trainee and qualified solicitors. As you can see, the potential pay packets are plentiful and it is possible to earn well above the national average wage regardless of geographical location.