From August, employers will only be required to pay trainee solicitors the national minimum wage which is currently £6.31.
For many years, trainee solicitors were entitled to receive a minimum salary as directed by the Law Society. Most recently, the minimum salary was £16,650 outside London and £18,590 inside London. The JLD claims that removing this will leave junior lawyers vulnerable and at the risk of being exploited. Many larger firms pay top dollar to attract the top legal talent but those are the minority.
The legal profession has a well earned reputation for long hours. It is unlikely that trainee solicitors will receive overtime for the extra hours worked.
Will the loss of the minimum salary encourage those who were thinking of entering the legal profession, to look elsewhere? There may be long term rewards for those entering the legal profession but will they be put off by the pay and conditions that await some, after just coming out of university with lots of debt?
Will it encourage the markets at the lower end to become more competitive as costs are saved?