25 May, 2012

Women will be disproportionately affected by the SRA’s decision to pay trainee solicitors the National Minimum Salary of  £6.08 per hour, warns the Association of Women Solicitors (AWS).


The AWS says two thirds of the current trainees are women, which means they will be disproportionately affected by the SRA’s decision, made ahead of the Legal Education and Training Review. 


The announcement follows widespread opposition from broad swathes of the legal community, AWS being in the forefront. The National Minimum Wage means future generations of women solicitors will receive at least 40% less income during their two years of mandatory training.


The AWS points out that even the findings of the SRA’s own Equality Impact Assessment points towards maintaining the current minimum salary.


Women and ethnic minorities already make up the majority of current trainees who receive the prevailing SRA regulated minimum salary of £16,650 and  £18,590 in London.


The AWS, which celebrates its ninetieth birthday in 2013, represents women solicitors throughout their careers. 


AWS Chairwoman Joy Van-Cooten and the AWS Law Society Council member Sarah Austin said today: “Women have achieved so much over the life of our organisation and especially over the last two decades, so we greet the SRA’s announcement with disappointment. We are concerned it will discourage able women away from the profession and the result will be a return to a less diverse profession that will reflect practitioners’ means rather than their merit. This can only devalue the professional reputation of solicitors and the public’s perception of the quality of our service.” 

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