How much do solicitors earn in the UK?
Becoming a solicitor can be a rewarding and interesting profession. There is a wide variety of different specialisms to go into, meaning you can choose something that appeals to your tastes.
But How Much Do Solicitors Earn In The UK?
Because, while a rewarding and stimulating career is very beneficial, it’s good to know that you’ll be able to do more than simply keep a roof over your head.
However, the cost of qualifying as a solicitor can be high and it can take longer than other career paths.
Let’s take a deeper look into how much lawyers make:
What Is The Difference Between A Lawyer And A Solicitor?
The terms “lawyer” and “solicitor” are often used interchangeably. It’s easy to see why.
Technically speaking, a “lawyer” is any person licensed to give legal advice to another person or organisation. Generally, a “solicitor” does the same thing, so people don’t specify the difference.
However, other types of legal professionals – for, example, barristers – could also potentially be referred to as “lawyers”. The fact that specialists like this have extensive additional qualifications normally means they want to differentiate themselves though.
What Does A Solicitor Do?
A solicitor’s main job is to draft legal documents. Their day-to-day work might involve researching cases or relevant legislation, drafting a contract (this could be anything from a business-to-business agreement to a utility bill), or representing parties at a tribunal or in court.
There are two broad areas of work that a solicitor might engage with:
- Contentious legal work – representing someone or an organisation in court or at a tribunal to resolve some kind of dispute.
- Non-contentious legal work – helping individuals or organisations with all kinds of legal affairs and protections. You might help draw up a will for a person or a supply contract for a business, for instance.
How Much Do Lawyers Make?
Like those in most professions, lawyers in general – and solicitors in particular – make different amounts of money depending on where they work in the UK. Their salary will also vary according to their specialist area of law and who they work for. As a solicitor, you might work for:
- A law firm
- An organisation’s internal legal department
- The government or a related institution
You can imagine a spectrum between a trainee solicitor at a law firm outside of London (who might make £23 000 per year though possibly significantly more) to a trainee working at one of the biggest London law firms (who might earn twice that, perhaps £50 000).
Post-qualification though, your salary as a solicitor will start to grow. Even newly-qualified lawyers might expect to earn around £27 000 to £60 000 per year outside of London and as much as £100 000 per year for a major London firm.
The downside of the big London law firms though (the Big Five are often described as the “Magic Circle”) is the expectation that you will work incredibly hard for worryingly long hours. Hence, the massive salaries.
Yet these aren’t the highest wage brackets a solicitor can expect to graduate into. As you gain experience in your specialism after qualification, your salary will likely start to climb again.
The average salary for a solicitor in the UK is a little over £44 000 per year, with experienced lawyers at certain firms being able to make anywhere from £62 000 to £100 000 per year and, in some places, more.
How Much Does A Lawyer Make An Hour?
If we take that £44 000 average as our guide, we can estimate an hourly rate of around £22-23 per hour.
Of course, this will vary depending on the part of the country you work in, the size of your firm, and the number of hours you are expected to work to earn that pay.
How To Become A Solicitor
How much do lawyers make an hour? It can sound like a lot, but every solicitor has put in a great deal of hard work and study to get themselves to any position they might be in:
- Roughly six years of full-time study
- Longer if you switch to law as a graduate in another field via the GDL program (Graduate Diploma in Law)
- Study for the SQE1 (Solicitors Qualifying Exam) qualification testing legal knowledge, research, and writing
- SQE2 testing practical oral and written legal skills
- QWE (Qualifying Work Experience) in a relevant role for two years
So, while solicitors in the UK can make large amounts of money, it does take a lot of time and effort to qualify as one. Yet it is worth bearing in mind the other benefits of a career in law.
They’re well worth looking into if you have any kind of interest in this interesting and lucrative field.
Want To Learn More About Becoming A Solicitor?
Check out the full range of articles on Solicitors Near Me to find out more about a career in law.
Solicitors Near Me