Gone are the days when the social worker envied the solicitor (all that kudos, all that pay!). How the tables have turned in family and criminal law.
Qualified social worker – three-year degree, lots of job opportunities, starting salary of £27k-30k, five weeks holiday plus public holidays, good pension, regular support and supervision, modern offices, good training.
Solicitor – three-year degree, one-year LPC, two-year training contract (if you can find one), often with minimum salary of £18k. Newly qualifieds get £21k-25k, little support and one-to-one supervision; and long hours are expected, including out-of-hours police station work for a little extra pay. Moreover, many solicitors’ offices are in grotty, poorly accessible buildings. Pay is even worse for junior barristers in this field of law.
I am a children’s services director and my husband and son are both criminal defence solicitors. I feel angry at how in the legal profession, where pay was once decent (some might say too high), it is now barely higher than they would get at a supermarket checkout. Surely their salary should be in line with other professionals with similar backgrounds – teachers, social workers, nurses, doctors. Surely it is not right that pay is a pittance compared with colleagues in corporate and commercial law.
I prefer to remain anonymous, as my solicitor son starting out on his career would not want his mother ranting on about how little he is paid. But it is an outrage.
What is the Law Society going to do about it?