The Law Society has claimed that trainees needing to take on second jobs and seek housing benefit “is not the type of image that benefits the profession”.
The assertion comes as part of the Law Society’s response to the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s (SRA) consultation on the removal of the minimum salary for trainee solicitors, which could result in a pay packet of just £2.60 an hour.
In the response, the Law Society states: “Many people on the minimum wage have to seek additional employment to pay living costs. It could be seen that without reasonable financial payment, such as the current minimum salary represents, this may be the only recourse for some trainees.
“There is also the side effect that trainees would qualify for housing benefits. This is not the type of image that benefits the profession and it is not the path to promoting social mobility and diversity within the profession.”
The Law Society also asserts that the consultation is premature in light of the ongoing Legal Education and Training Review and that the SRA has a “lack of understanding” of the situation that will result from the removal of the minimum salary.
The news follows the SRA announcing that should the minimum salary be deregulated, trainees would fall under the terms of National Minimum Wage Regulations and in turn be seen as apprentices (22 March 2012).