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SRA opts for £6.08 per hour for trainee solicitor minimum wage

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  • a reasonable outcome I think

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  • That is a thoughtful idea and will go some way in increasing access to the profession for students from less wealthy backgrounds, particularly as higher education is getting so much cheaper.

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  • This is such an idiotic move by the SRA. Whilst I understand this move will ease the financial burden on firms when it comes to hiring trainees, it is at the expense of widening access to the profession.

    The firms that will take most advantage of this will be high street firms, who generally hire students on the LPC. These students will be crippled by debt from the LPC and undergraduate fees (unless they have rich parents of course).

    Also, whilst it can be argued this may increase the number of training contracts, I doubt if it will filter through to more NQ positions. Therefore, all this will achieve will be a slight easing of the bottleneck of training contact application stage and shift it to qualification.

    It is quite clear that the SRA do not care in the slightest about social mobility, LPC students, trainee solicitors or the future lifeblood of the profession.

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  • Surely this will make no tangible difference? As a trainee I worked 8-6 with no lunch aka 10 hours per day, I would suggest that this is pretty reasonable and representative of the kind of hours most trainees will do (outside of the city). By my reckoning this would come out at £17,680 for the year i.e. an increase on the £16,500 I think I was paid. Can't see a problem with that.

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  • @Anonymous | 16-May-2012 4:48 pm

    What nonsense. Why should the SRA artificially prop-up trainees salaries? More to the point why should trainees solicitors be treated any differently from anyone else and NOT be subject to the minimum wage - what makes solicitors special? I agree that LPC places are way too high but the issue is not with trainee salaries but with the number of LPC places.

    It is possible to live off the minimum wage (I have) and though it is hardly glamorous this is all the SRA should be doing i.e. ensuring that trainees are not exploited and have enough to live (as you would expect to get with any form of employment).

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  • Considering the amount of debt we, as law students, are expected to mount up in order to get the necessary qualifications, I think this is a disgusting decision. I started my law degree fully intending to enter the profession and now, quite honestly, have found my self priced out of it. My parents cannot afford to pay for my LPC or to help me out on such low wages for a training contract. This move is a real shame, and will have a significant impact on the number of students who can make it in to the profession. There are graduate jobs out there, not requiring an expensive post graduate course, with much higher starting figures than that. In fact, I receive more than £6.08 an hour for my part time retail job. I wonder who this was truly meant to benefit, because I can assure you, it isn't graduates. Easing the pressure on firms in the here and now is all very well, but such a move jeopardises the future of the profession if there is such a bias towards those with money rather than ability.

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  • agree with the above points about pushing the bottleneck to NQ positions, which is arguably worse. However I really don't understand why everyone on the lawyer seems to think that every decision regarding the legal profession must be made solely for the purpose of "widening access". Since when did the legal profession take on the entire responsibility for social mobility?

    That said, playing around with salaries is utter nonesense anyway as the real issue is with the fact that we have 10,000 more LPC places than training contracts. The solution is not to pay people peanuts but to limit the number of LPC places making it more linked to actually having a job in the law, as with the accountancy profession

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  • Before I begin, just a note on any problems with undergraduate fees: at £6.08 an hour, that's not going to present any kind of issue.

    LPC fees, however, are a far more real and dangerous problem for budding lawyers that these changes will not help to alleviate in any way. Let's face it: for that kind of money these potential trainees could be doing literally any other non-apprenticeship job and not be saddled with the 5-figure debts attracting commercial interest rates (what are the going rates on these loans nowadays? ~7%?).

    I'd say that I hope that this maybe serves to devalue the LPC in the eyes of students, but considering that the LPC market has remained resilient in the face of a dearth of training contracts, that looks highly unlikely.

    Then again, perhaps it'll send the signal to students that the perception that if you get a training contract you're guaranteed a well-paying job for the rest of your career is wrong.

    Seeing as no concrete evidence of any kind of material upshot in the number of training contracts offered was ever presented by the SRA, I cannot see this as a good move. Indeed, it looks likely to be a costly gamble in attempt to win a pretty poor return.

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  • @Anonymous 4.48pm

    I could not agree more. I am a student about to graduate from a non-qualifying law degree and I have a place on the GDL at CoL for next year.

    After hearing of the SRA's decision, which I believe to be quite frankly foolish, I am beginning to fear the impact that this could have upon students like myself, who have no financial backing from parents. I dread to think what it will be like in two years time if I have to try and repay my tuition fee's + GDL + LPC on £6.08 an hour, with the looming prospect of having to then fight for highly contested NQ positions. I am guessing that this will have a similar effect on other prospective solicitors in my financial position and ultimately, further restrict access to the profession.

    What an absolute joke.

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  • If someone goes through four years of university training, invests thousands of pounds in developing abilities and is then worth £6.08 hour is there not something wrong with the training?

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