FAQ: how much does a solicitor make? (With job information)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 5 October 2022 | Published 16 August 2021

Updated 5 October 2022

Published 16 August 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Working as a solicitor can offer exciting career opportunities in the legal field. Learning how much solicitors make can help you determine whether this career path is the right choice for you. In this article, we answer the question 'how much does a solicitor make?' as well as other commonly asked questions about working as a solicitor.

How much does a solicitor make?

The national average salary for a solicitor is £46,063 per year. However, exact salaries may vary. Experience, geographic location and qualifications can influence how much you may earn as a solicitor.

Similarly, there are certain solicitor specialities that may earn different wages. Some examples of roles that often earn a different wage than the national average salary include:

  • Family solicitor: £43,540 per year

  • Clinical negligence solicitor: £43,295 per year

  • Private client solicitor: £43,405 per year

  • Employment solicitor: £50,260 per year

  • Commercial solicitor: £50,505 per year

  • Corporate solicitor: £55,665 per year

  • Construction solicitor: £60,200 per year

Related: Highest paying jobs in the UK (with salaries and definitions)

Where do solicitors earn the most?

Typical salaries for solicitors may vary based on geographic location. However, based on reported salaries on Indeed Salaries, the highest-paying cities for solicitors in the United Kingdom are:

  • London: £57,580 per year

  • Bristol: £51,413 per year

  • Leeds: £48,542 per year

  • Birmingham: £46,307 per year

  • Southampton: £51,882 per year

  • Newcastle upon Tyne: £43,291 per year

  • Manchester: £44,029 per year

  • York: £43,040 per year

What is a solicitor?

A solicitor is a legal practitioner who provides clients with support and advice regarding legal matters. They may serve a variety of clients, such as individuals, private companies, public sector organisations and small businesses, and many specialise in a specific type of advice, such as family law or corporate law. Solicitors complete a variety of daily tasks, such as:

  • Advising their clients

  • Keeping current with changes in legislation

  • Managing finances

  • Preparing final documents for court

  • Preparing legal documents, such as contracts and letters

  • Providing advocates and barristers with instructions on acting on the behalf of clients

  • Representing clients in court

  • Researching legal records and case law

Related: 9 essential solicitor skills

Solicitors may work in a variety of environments, depending on their speciality. Some common work environments for solicitors include:

  • Courts

  • Crown Prosecution Service

  • In-house legal departments of organisations

  • Law centres

  • Local or central government

  • Private practices

  • The military

Related: What does a solicitor do? (Legal specialisms explained)

What are some ways to earn more money as a solicitor?

Here are strategies to consider that may affect how much you earn as a solicitor:

Finish training

Working as a trainee solicitor is an important step in becoming a qualified solicitor. However, you may earn lower wages than you would as a fully qualified or certified solicitor. Qualifying as a solicitor may provide you with more job opportunities and the ability to work fewer hours for a higher wage.

Related: Higher apprenticeships: everything you need to know

Consider your location

In general, solicitors working in larger cities may find a higher earning potential than those working in smaller cities. However, working at smaller firms or in smaller cities may give you more opportunities to advance more quickly in your career than you might at a larger firm or in a larger city. It's also important to consider the difference in the cost of living between smaller and larger cities when comparing how much you may earn.

Related: Jobs for lawyers working from home (plus salaries and tips)

Choose a speciality

Many solicitors choose a legal speciality, and some earn more than others. For example, solicitors representing high-profile companies or corporations may earn higher salaries than those representing individuals or private claims. However, earnings may also vary based on bonuses or other benefits firms may offer.

Related: Types of criminal law specialisations (with definition)

Explore international opportunities

Some internationally based firms, such as United States-based firms with job openings in the United Kingdom, may offer higher salaries. They may also offer higher remuneration packages for newly qualified solicitors. Additionally, accepting a position at an internationally based firm may provide you with the opportunity to travel and work abroad.

What are the requirements to become a solicitor?

Requirements to become a solicitor may slightly vary based on whether you choose to attend university. In general, the requirements to become a solicitor include:

  • Earning at least 3 A levels and at least 5 GCSEs with grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) or the equivalent

  • Earning undergraduate degree

  • Completing the Legal Practice Course (LPC)

  • Completing two years of recognised training at a law firm

  • Passing a comprehensive background check

  • Registering with the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA)

It's important to note you may also need to complete an additional course if you choose an undergraduate degree other than law. When selecting an undergraduate degree program, make sure your course satisfies the SRA's requirements. Some universities also ask you to complete the Law National Aptitude Test (LNAT) before allowing you to begin your legal studies.

Related: What you need to know about professional qualifications

How long does it take to become a solicitor?

In general, becoming a solicitor requires several years. However, there are different options for becoming one, and each may take different lengths of time to complete. Some options include:

  • Studying law full time: Studying law full time may take up to six years to earn your qualification as a solicitor. This path generally includes completing a three-year undergraduate law degree, a one-year LPC and two years of training at a law firm.

  • Earning a different undergraduate degree: Pursuing a career as a solicitor may be possible in approximately seven years. This typically includes completing a three-year undergraduate degree not related to law, a one-year Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) course, a one-year LPC and two years of training at a law firm.

  • Pursuing a CILEx option: Becoming a solicitor without attending university may be possible through the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) Centre for Professional Qualification (CPQ) path and typically requires five or six years. This may include completing secondary education courses, on-the-job training at a legal firm and the CILEx Level 6 Professional Diploma in Higher Law and Practice. After this, you may pursue an apprenticeship or additional training at a law firm.

Related: How to become a solicitor

Solicitor Qualifying Examination (SQE)

It's important to note the process of becoming a solicitor will change, but the new system will run at the same time as the current one. Some of the changes in the Solicitor Qualifying Examination (SQE) are:

  • Individuals with non-law undergraduate degrees no longer need to complete the GDL conversion course.

  • Two sets of mandatory assessments will replace the one-year LPC.

  • While candidates still need to complete two years of training, they may complete this training at up to four different legal firms.

What skills are important for solicitors to have?

Solicitors require a combination of soft skills, which are skills related to their personal habits and work ethic, and hard skills, which are technical skills related to their specific job. The most important hard skill for solicitors to develop is a knowledge of the legal system, including legal proceedings, court procedures and government regulations. Some examples of important soft skills for solicitors to develop include:

  • Communication skills: Communication skills include the ability to share information effectively with others through written and verbal means. It's important for solicitors to discuss legal options with their clients and draft legal documents correctly.

  • Active listening skills: Active listening skills refer to how well you listen to and process information. This is essential for solicitors to gather information and understand the decisions of other legal professionals.

  • Analytical thinking: Analytical thinking skills enable you to evaluate a situation and consider information critically. This skill is important for solicitors to be able to assess and work on complex cases.

  • Attention to detail: Attention to detail refers to your ability to review documents and identify errors. It's critical for solicitors to have excellent attention to detail because even a single incorrect word may affect the legality or meaning of a clause or document.

  • Research: Research skills include the ability to search for and gather information, especially from reputable sources. Solicitors often research legal regulations and previous resolutions to support their client's cases.

  • Ability to work under pressure: The ability to work under pressure relates to how well you work in stressful conditions. Solicitors often take care of many cases at once and are responsible for matters that may affect the rest of their client's lives.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed. Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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