I recently wrote to the chief executive of the Solicitors Regulation Authority in the following terms. You may wish to reproduce this letter in the Gazette.
I read in the Law Society Gazette that from August solicitors are only required to pay their trainees the national minimum wage of £6.31 per hour, rather than the current minimum salary of £18,590 per year for training contracts in central London and £16,650 for those outside. Assuming that Gradgrind allows his or her trainees a little time off, the minimum wage salary equates to around £12,115 for a 40-hour week, 48 weeks of the year. London trainees lose nearly £6,500 per year under this madcap scheme.
I do not know how conversant you are with the difficulties faced by young men and women wishing to enter our profession. The law schools are too prolific and produce more applicants than the profession can absorb. They are expensive and a loan must be taken out which is unlikely to be paid off until the applicant has turned 30. For anyone reading a subject other than law at university (far preferable in my view) the cost of becoming a solicitor is greater.
Lord Denning signed my enrolment certificate on 1 December 1975. Forty years ago one could apply for a grant to attend university and to your local authority for the part 1 and part 2 law courses. Today life is very different. And yet, knowing all this, it would appear that you advocate that law should revert to being the chosen profession for the sons and daughters of wealthy parents.
If what I read is true then shame on you and your committee.
Clive Thorp, Selsey, West Sussex