City law firms are leading the way in paying low-paid workers an independently assessed ‘living wage’ rather than the minimum wage, a Gazette investigation has revealed.

A ‘living wage’ is currently £8.55 an hour in London and £7.45 elsewhere. The minimum wage is £6.19.

A total of 10 law firms have signed up to a scheme run by charity The Living Wage Foundation, which has 134 companies registered as living wage employers. The accountancy profession, on the other hand, is represented by only two firms: Deloitte and KPMG.

Living Wage director Rhys Moore said the legal sector has ‘stepped up to the challenge’. He made special mention of magic circle firm Linklaters for ‘partnering the foundation’ and advocating on its behalf. He also thanked the Law Society, which is in the process of joining the foundation, for hosting a recruitment event.

Matt Sparkes, global head of corporate responsibility at Linklaters, said: ‘It is not just the right thing to do, it makes absolute business sense. It ensures we attract and retain the best and most motivated people, whether directly employed by us or by others.’

Magic circle firms Clifford Chance and Slaughter and May, and City firms Bates Wells & Braithwaite, Herbert Smith Freehills, Lewis Silkin, Mark Humphries Legal, Olswang, White and Case, and Mishcon de Reya have also become living wage employers.