London lawyers’ salaries highlight massive pay gaps in the UK

London might still be the best place in the UK to practice as a lawyer, with exceptionally high salaries and impressive annual pay rises that overshadow the rest of the country.

BCL Legal Recruitment has recently released their internal data, which highlights the vast differences between London and other regions, as well as the salaries most lawyers can expect to earn during different stages of their career.

The data shows that newly qualified commercial lawyers practising in London receive an average salary of £65,000 and year on year pay rises of approximately £5,000.

By their fourth year, most London-based practitioners can expect to earn an average sum of £85,000.

This increases to £95,000 after six years working as a lawyer, with an additional £25,000 pay rise to £120,000 if promoted to Junior Partner status.

How have London lawyers’ salaries changed over the last three years?

The UK has experienced widespread economic turmoil over the last few years, with the cost of living increasing dramatically as a direct result.

But despite rising inflation, pay rises for lawyers have remained relatively modest across most regions outside of London.

Interestingly, it’s a completely different story in the capital, where legal practitioners have enjoyed huge salary increases over the last three years alone.

In 2013, a newly qualified London-based lawyer working in commercial practice could expect to earn an average salary of £53,000. In 2016, this figure increased to by £12,000 to £65,000.

Likewise, a lawyer with five years of experience can now expect to take home £90,000 per annum, a £25,000 increase from 2013’s average salary of £65,000.

But by far the biggest increase in lawyer salaries over the last three years is at junior partner status, with an average £30,000 pay rise since 2013. In just three years, the salary figure has increased to £120,000.

How have things differed over the years between London and other UK regions?

To put things into perspective, commercial junior partners in the North East, the UK’s lowest paid region for lawyer services, can today expect to earn £80,000. That’s £10,000 lower than what a London junior partner would’ve earned in 2013.

There are also vast differences at the other end of the spectrum for newly qualified lawyers.

Nowadays, newly qualified commercial lawyers in the North West, one of the UK’s best-paid regions for legal practitioners outside of London, can earn an average of £39,000 per annum, up from £35,000 in 2013.

However, the 2016 North West average wage for newly qualified lawyers is still £14,000 less than what a London-based newcomer would’ve earned in 2013.


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