I am astonished by Charles Plant's article.
I became a trainee in September 1982 and was one of the first to benefit from the minimum salary, which was then about £3,000. This was at a time when it was difficult to find traineeships and I was fortunate to be able to take one up, though the salary was about £1,750. The only way I was able to accept the position was in the knowledge that the minimum was going to be introduced.
As a non-law graduate I had a bank loan for what was then the CPE and Law Society finals. I did not have parents who could afford to support me and could not have survived on the salary offered. If trainees are offered only the minimum wage, they will not be able to accept traineeships unless they have an affluent family. Although student loans will not become repayable at the minimum salary, it means the loan will hang over their heads for longer, not to speak of the cost of maintaining themselves and paying rent.
I hope that by referring to alternatives to training the SRA is not suggesting that the profession reverts to non-graduate entrance. Paying the minimum wage to graduates is nothing less than cheap labour and does not offer a future.
Christine Hall, sole practitioner, Lancaster
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