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Heat Recruitment announces its 2020 legal salary survey

by Heat Recruitment

What has the latest legal salary survey from Heat Recruitment told us about remuneration trends for 2020?

As the digital age continues to bring disruption to the world of professional services, the UK legal market remains in a state of flux. While some firms are enjoying double-digit growth, economic uncertainty is prompting a decline for those who have yet to evolve and align their services with the current needs of the market.

Meanwhile, demand continues to outstrip supply in the talent landscape, creating opportunities for high-potential candidates seeking the next step in their career. In line with these developments, average salaries are on the rise – particularly in the fields of commercial and construction law.

Through comprehensive feedback and conversations with our consultants, clients and candidates, we have been able to pull together valuable insight on the latest legal salary survey trends with regard to remuneration and rewards in 2020.

Legal Assistants and Legal Secretaries

Sophisticated technology may be aiding law firms to lower overhead spend, but legal assistants still play a key role in the legal sector of 2020 – so much so, in fact, that legal assistants both in the capital and beyond can expect to see above-average gains in the coming year. Those with at least 3 years’ experience under their belts will enjoy the highest salary increases.

Similarly, legal secretaries entering the jobs market in 2020 will benefit from moderate increases in salary, though this will naturally depend on company size and location. As more firms seek to establish a presence outside of London, however, legal secretaries in the regions could benefit from a welcome rise in pay as employers gear up to recruit for regional hubs.

Chartered Legal Executive

Candidates in the legal market who have completed their Chartered Institute of Legal Executives qualification can expect a handsome remuneration if they bring solid fee earning experience to the table. Naturally, salary offerings differ depending on the firm, but a London-based Legal Executives can expect to collect an average of £28,000.

Those based in the South East of England are close behind, earning roughly £26,000. The more experience they amass, the higher their earning potential climbs, with senior legal executives in the capital earning an average annual wage of £32,000.


Specialist solicitors will always be highly sought after by competitive law firms looking to secure the best talent to respond to the changing needs of their clients. Our salary survey found that the largest gains were made by solicitors with additional qualifications and, in turn, high billables. At present, a solicitor with 5 years Post-Qualification-Experience should be earning an average of £40,500 in London and a salary in the high 30s in regional firms.

That said, even solicitors with three years fewer under their belt can expect a highly attractive sum of £32,500 in London. Newly qualified solicitors in the capital have also seen a rise in their take-home; their minimum starting salary sitting at £25,000.


Our survey revealed variances in salary prospects for partners and senior partners, with discrepancies typically stemming from firm revenue, specialist service area or the calibre of the partners themselves. As more firms expand operations beyond London to the regions, salary rises at this level are to be expected; the current average for partners in the South West sitting at £90,000 – though the maximum take home for a partner in this region is a staggering £150,000.

Salary makes for a strong case when sourcing top legal talent, but firms who provide pathways for progression alongside an attractive remuneration package will be those who succeed in securing the skills they need to expand their operations – be it across the regions or on a global scale.

Do you want to see if your legal salary measures up? Take a look at our industry salary survey

Legal salary survey