Accessibility Links

City firms 'should cut salaries for newly-qualified lawyers'

Posted by: Laurence Simons 22/03/13

There are plenty of good things about becoming a private practice lawyer in London - you get to wear a suit, travel on enormous metal snakes that live peacefully under the ground, enjoy the unparalleled range of fried chicken restaurants across the nation's capital and be irritatingly smug about people that still live 'in the regions'.

However, a selection of HR professionals have suggested that one of the career's biggest draws - its high starting salary - will need to be reconsidered if businesses are not to lose out to their in-house and regional rivals.

Speaking at a breakfast seminar on the impact of high salaries in the industry, Kristi Edwards and Scott Gibson warned that a number of UK companies are no longer willing to pay big bucks for the privilege of working with a newly-qualified and relatively inexperienced lawyer, meaning that their remuneration may need to be scaled back.

While the prestige of some Magic Circle firms may be sufficient to ensure they retain a degree of business, legal service providers that have not been buffed to that degree of lustre are advised to cut their cloth to fit the times - and the times, as we are so persistently reminded, are austere.

The current 'gold standard' of salaries is around £60,000 for newly-qualified staff, with Edwards and Gibson claiming this should be slashed to roughly £50,000, especially in non-premium service areas.

This may force younger lawyers to cut back on diamond-studded kitchen knives, tiny Gucci clothes for their dogs, or whatever other ludicrous extravagances they spend their salaries on, but its fair to say the poor little lambs will still be able to get by.

"One size fits all compensation does not make economic sense," Edwards declared, concluding that the levels of supply and demand in the industry at present means cutting salaries will be totally viable.