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As a young lawyer (just over 2 years PQE) this surprises me as much as it being a bit nippy around winter time.

One thing that has stood out for me by talking to trainees and fellow NQ's is that this is not the profession we were under the impression we were entering into. I thought it would command respect from people, and pay reasonably well.

On the first point, I have had clients complain at not getting back to them over night, clients phoning at 17.25 in the evening and then again at 9.05 the next morning expecting things to have progressed; clients second judging my views and my advice. I even have clients complain when I have the audacity to go on holiday and even worse, not be contactable or give them my personal mobile number. I am a Solicitor, not a Servant.

One the second, yes it pays over the national average (though living in the south east, probably not the regional average), yet the stress levels are such that it is not worth it. In order to get a pay rise I have to bill more. Sounds simple. But to do that I would be working until 7 every evening and wouldn't have time to actually spend the money. It's not even as though I have a decent pension plan here.

Of course, we now have to compete with paralegals doing all the work and fee earning. This is promoted by the Law Society and the SRA by way of silence. Are we really surprised at the Ground Rent for houses scandal when the legal advice is given by unqualified staff? Yes they get checked and signed off by a superior, but it is bill bill bill. So those firms continue to use unqualified staff for a lesser salary which brings it down for all. What if the Law Society and the SRA stated that it must be a Solicitor with three years PQE who can only have day to day conduct and conversations with clients, and those without this assist and learn? Would cost the consumer more, but you get what you pay for. But this will never happen. They want costs to come down, seemingly blind to know this will mean solicitors pay goes down at a time when training to be one is increasing.

I am actively seeking to leave the profession, and know of other NQ's who have and are looking to. I have had enough of getting back to my flat feeling exhausted and already fearing the next day in the office. I have worked in two firms and I do feel as though I am in a good firm. It is the industry that's the problem.

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