"Everyone wants to say they hate lawyers, and yet I've never met a parent who didn't want their kid to be a lawyer." -Jessi Klein
In today's society, lawyers are often viewed as despicable individuals. This is due to the fact that attorneys have the reputation for lying, charging clients obscene hourly rates for legal services and not possessing any admirable morals.
No parent wants their child to be viewed as a scumbag in their professional career.
Some of these stereotypes may be true in certain situations but we cannot be dogmatic. There are plenty of lawyers working throughout the United Kingdom who are genuinely interested in the welfare of others conducting many pro-bono and civil rights cases.
Above all, there is no parent who would not be beaming with joy to have a qualified lawyer in the family. A lawyer in synonymous with success, academic achievement and big salaries. Some lawyers may face negative esteem, however, those who work in the legal profession are among the most educated of individuals.
Attorneys spend much time throughout their postsecondary studies reading and examining books to become skilled at their craft.
While some parents want their children to grow up and become lawyers for a higher status in society, others believe that becoming an attorney means a high paying job and, therefore, a better life for their offspring.
Superprof is here to examine the salaries of lawyers and determine if all the studying at a university level is justified.
Salaries of Barristers
Barristers are logical and analytical individuals who represent people and organizations in court. They advise clients on their case, prepare legal arguments, cross-examine witnesses and negotiate appropriate settlements. Barristers have many different tasks but above all, they are experts in law.
Training of Barristers
To become a qualified and working barrister much training is required. There are three mandatory steps of post-secondary education that one needs to pass through in order to meet the requirements of a professional barrister:
- Academic Studies: a qualifying law degree from a viable university. A Bachelor's of Law (LLB) is offered at all law schools and is essential to have a base of the legal system. 3 years of schooling and high test results are necessary to complete this step.
- Vocational Training: an extra training course called the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) is needed to accomplish the second step of studies. The BPTC is one year of training and the main purpose of it is to provide budding barristers with the skills, knowledge and attitudes to undertake the third step of studies. It is highly recommended to apply and be accepted into one of the four Inns of Court (Gray's Inn, Inner Temple, Lincoln's Inn and Middle Temple) during this crucial step.
- Pupillage: an entire year of training with an authorized pupillage organization is compulsory and is spent under the supervision of an experienced barrister with many years of practice. Young barristers learn from qualified barristers to become prepared for the challenges in the courtroom that lie ahead of them.
Upon completion of pupillage, the third step, you can apply to become a junior barrister in chambers.
Estimated Salaries of Barristers
The final stage of training known as pupillage is paid orientation and according to the Bar Standards Board (BSB), entry-level trainees must be paid no less than £12,000 a year. That is the minimum wage because those who have entered more prestigious chambers to undergo their training can be paid as much as £45,000 a year depending on their expertise or area of practice.
Those who have completed their pupillage and can now look for work as qualified barristers can earn between £25,000 and £300,000 a year. This is all depending on skills, training, the location of the law firm, reputation and type of employer.
Junior barristers are most likely going to earn a median salary of £25,000 to £50,000 during their first few years of practising law since they do not have much experience.
The annual salary for barristers working in private practice with over ten years' experience can rise to over £1,000,000. Now that's a load of cash!
If a barrister decides to work in the public sector defending civil cases instead of making loads of money, their average salary will range from £30,000 to £90,000 working for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). This all depends on previous experience and talent. An impressive resume improves your chances.
The majority of barristers are self-employed and find work in many different sectors such as chancery law, commercial law, common law, criminal law, entertainment law and sports law.
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For those who are looking for quick promotions and more money in the future, long hours of work during evenings and weekends is required to become better at what you do.
The best job opportunities and biggest salaries are more available in the UK's biggest cities such as London and Manchester. For a successful job search, look for companies hiring barristers and paying them competitive salaries on LawCareers.Net or Pupillage Gateway in order to make the big bucks as soon as possible! Some law firms even offer compensation and benefits can up for negotiation.
Salaries of Solicitors
Solicitors provide expert legal support and advice to their clients. They have an excellent knowledge of the legal system and possess outstanding interpersonal skills.
Areas of expertise may vary, however, solicitors help clients on a wide range of issues such as personal issues (buying and selling properties, wills and probate, divorce and family matters), commercial work (advising on complicated corporate transactions, business-related disputes) and protecting the rights of individuals (making sure that everyone is fairly and justly treated).
Qualifications Needed to Become a Solicitor
A few years of post-secondary training is needed before even thinking about the future salary of a solicitor. There are three steps of education needed to become a qualified solicitor.
- Academic Training: solicitors just like barristers need to possess a Bachelor's of Law (LLB) to move onto the next stage of qualifications. 3 years of training at a university level to attain their Bachelor's in Law diploma prepares solicitors for offering legal advice in the future for clients.
- Legal Practice Course (LPC): after graduating from the first stage, step two is a period of vocational training that helps individuals develop the needed skills to work as a professional solicitor. The LPC course can be taken full time for one year but part-time courses lasting two years are also available.
- The Professional Skills Course (PSC): taken as part of a training programme and must be completed in order to qualify as a solicitor in the future. It is a two-year training period and during this time future solicitors are groomed and prepared to deal with the needs and demands of clients.
After successful completion of the aforementioned three key stages of education, solicitors can apply for jobs at law firms. It is estimated that there are 80,000 solicitors working the private sector in England and Wales. That means that competition is fierce and extra skills and work experience is needed to land the job you've always wanted!
Depending on areas of expertise and practice, solicitors can find work specializing in different kinds of law such as intellectual property law, shipping law, employment law and construction law.
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Estimated Salaries of Solicitors
Solicitors require one more year of schooling than barristers but it is interesting to note that they do not more money. The salaries of solicitors are often lower than those of barristers. For example, the starting salary range for qualified solicitors in a regional firm or small private practice is between £25,000 and £40,000.
For solicitors who have moved to the thriving metropolis of London, starting salaries in the city's commercial firms can range from £58,000 to £65,000 per year. The larger and more prestigious city firms in London are often prepared to offer a starting salary of over £80,000 per year for highly talented solicitors.
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After many years of hard work and experience, being named partner in a law-firm is synonymous with an increase in pay. Those who are named partners can earn a yearly salary of over £100,000. Equity partners also share in the firm's profits which more money.
Nevertheless, it is important to remember that many share the same idea of going to the bigger cities in the UK to find legal jobs with big fat salaries. With that being said it means that those with special skills and relevant work experience will shine brighter than the rest.
It's a very competitive field and being the best means the highest salary.
As a young solicitor, long hours during evenings and weekends are essential to prove yourself qualified for promotions and additional responsibilities.
What Skills Are Needed to Secure a Better Salary as a Lawyer?
A recent study conducted proves that those with qualifications, skills and university diplomas can earn £500,000 more over the course of their lifetime than those who do not have university degrees.
The same proves true in the legal field. It is obvious that in order to become a qualified barrister or solicitor a university degree is required. However, those who have worked on attaining extra skills and gaining supplementary qualifications during their post-secondary studies will earn higher starting salaries at law firms.
During your job interview, it is crucial to demonstrate previous skills attained through past work experience. Employers greatly value all of the following skills in a lawyer:
- Resilience and Self-Confidence: don't be overwhelmed about going through a training contract or pupillage to gain relevant work experience. This develops self-confidence and will show your commitment to a career in law and impress your employer. Those with previous work experience make more money, it's really a win-win!
- Academic Abilities: recruiters at prestigious law firms look for candidates who can process complex information and draw knowledgeable conclusions. Don't be surprised if you are tested during the interview process about this. Potential employers love lawyers who are not just experts at law but who also have a wide variety of talents and hobbies that impress big clients.
- Effective Time Management: lawyers are extremely busy people. They need to show their employers that they can juggle many different tasks, clients and cases all at once. Solid work ethic and efficiency will help you go a long way and constantly increase your salary as the years go on.
- Communication Skills: as a solicitor, the ability to communicate and express yourself effectively is very important in the courtroom defending clients. Listening to your client's needs and concerns will create a bond of trust and confidence which is essential for further business and a potential salary increase in the future! The ability to speak publicly without being shy is very important as well.
All of these skills will put you ahead of the rest at job interviews and ensure you a higher salary. The high-life of lawyers may not be as glamorous as depicted in TV shows and movies but a huge salary is available for those who work hard and show a diligent effort.
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