Yorkshire’s largest conveyancing firm has set up a £150,000 training academy after its workload trebled in the past two years. It comes as the Law Society has predicted increased turnover growth in the legal sector this year and next, in part because of the recovering property market.
The Legal Services Board has approved wide-ranging plans by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) to deregulate training, including the delayed demise of the minimum salary.
The ex-City lawyer chairman of the Solicitors Regulation Authority has questioned the recruitment methods of City law firms in making university students decide to become commercial lawyers so early on in their legal careers.
The minimum salary for trainee solicitors will be scrapped on 1 August 2014, the board of the SRA decided yesterday, saying it is not the job of a regulator to control wages. Firms will be required to pay the national minimum wage of £6.08 an hour.
Prospective trainee solicitors at Reed Smith are to conduct projects for the international firm’s clients as part of an innovative legal practice course that integrates legal and business learning and leads to a unique Masters qualification – the MA (LPC with Business).
The Solicitors Regulation Authority is to consider retaining the minimum salary for trainee solicitors at the level of the national minimum wage after discovering that without it trainees would be classed as apprentices and so could be paid just £2.60 an hour in their first year – less than £5,000.
There is no regulatory justification for retaining the 30-year-old policy of minimum salaries for trainee solicitors, the Solicitors Regulation Authority has said. It also admitted to concerns that the Legal Education and Training Review’s timetable is too tight.