No matter how hard they try, winning the hearts and minds of the public is an impossible feat for legal aid lawyers. 

Solicitors' salaries were the subject of a brief but heated exchange on BBC's Question Time last night, which featured shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon hours after Labour's election manifesto was unveiled.

One audience member told Burgon, a former trade union solicitor, that every solicitor in the country earns more than £80,000. Burgon immediately informed the audience member that he was wrong: 'When I was a solicitor, I earnt just over £40,000 a year.'

'Rubbish' shouted another audience member - leaving Obiter to ponder whether Burgon needed to pop back home and return with an old payslip.

We say 'old' because the shadow justice secretary's salary is a bit higher now. According to parliament's website, an MP's basic annual salary is £79,468. MPs also receive expenses to cover the costs of running an office, employing staff, having a place to stay in London or their constituency, and travelling between parliament and their constituency.

It's possible the audience member had the likes of City partners in mind when he made his statement.

According to Law Society statistics, the median annual earnings of assistant and associate solicitors in private practice in 2016 was £47,000, which increased by a whopping £1,000 in 2019.

Perhaps someone could send the audience member a copy of the Young Legal Aid Lawyers's social mobility report, which showed that half of its members earned less than £25,000 a year.