A guide to lawyer salaries and legal professional remuneration

The Heat Recruitment Legal Salary Survey is your definitive guide to legal remuneration trends and lawyer salaries across the UK. From legal assistant through to law firm partner salaries, our research is based on industry trends and the thousands of recruitment and job searches performed each year, providing you the information you need to make informed hiring decisions.

 

The past year was a tale of two cities – many (largely US) law firms experienced double-digit growth while others saw declines, mainly due to the value of the pound and a lack of practice diversification. Those firms with strong risk and compliance, IT, HR, finance and business change offerings proved the most resilient and experienced the strongest growth.

 

The move to regional hubs – moving talent or accelerating hiring outside of London – has resulted in higher salaries for lawyers and legal professionals outside of the capital. Coupled with investment in IT and digital transformation, firms who enhance their employer value proposition are best positioned to attract, recruit and retain the top legal prospects on offer.

The average legal assistant salary is on the rise with corporate legal assistants and legal practice assistants expecting above-average gains in the coming year. Senior legal assistants with commercial property, private client and conveyancing are increasingly in short supply and companies are increasing salary offers to attract and retain staff.

Legal secretary salary expectations can vary by seniority, with starting salaries from £16,000 and increasing based on tenure, company size and location. While London still offers the highest remuneration, regional legal secretary salaries have seen strong year-on-year gains.

Paralegal

The average paralegal salary in the UK is 5% higher than one year ago, rising to as much as £35,000 in London. Job titles can vary, with paralegals often advertised as case handlers, fee earners, legal executives, legal assistants.

Salaries for legal executives who have completed their Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) qualification are on the rise, particularly those specialising in corporate law, commercial property and conveyancing law and employment law. Chartered legal executive salaries are highest for those professionals within corporate law.

 

Solicitor

Solicitor salaries have risen across the UK with newly qualified solicitors seeing starting salaries increase by as much as 70% over the last four years. Average solicitor salaries remain consistent with those with five years PQE seeing the strongest gains. In May 2019 we saw a rise in NQ salaries within some of the larger top City and US firms with salaries rising to in excess of £100,000 excluding bonuses and extra benefits.

Associates

Associate solicitor salaries can vary widely, with the highest offers for those who are self-starting, independent and client-oriented and those who provide legal guidance to other legal associates and secretaries.

Partner

Law firm partner salaries in the UK are seeing much fluctuation, largely caused by talent shortages and value of the pound. As a result, many US firms are introducing salary caps, with others increasing pay to keep pace. While there exists a disparity between London and the regions, we have seen increases to regional law firm partner salaries across the UK.

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