All traineeships must be paid. It is up to the individual employers to set their own salaries for trainees, however, there are minimum requirements that must be complied with in order for a training contract to be registered.

Recommended rates

From 1 June 2023, the recommended rates for trainee salaries will be:

  • £22,550 for first-year trainees
  • £26,125 for second-year trainees

These rates are recommendations and are not compulsory. The recommended rates set by the Law Society are intended as a benchmark for employers, with more than 95% of trainees paid at or above the recommended rate. It is for individual law firms or in-house employers to decide how much they pay their trainees, subject to certain conditions.

Minimum salaries

The Society will not accept training contracts that purport to pay less than the Living Wage (outside of London rate), as set by the Living Wage Foundation.

Law Society of Scotland President Murray Etherington said: “This uplift in the recommended pay rates for trainees reflects the significant cost-of-living pressures that are continuing to be felt across the UK.

"Trainees are the future of our profession and must be nurtured and supported. Cost pressures disproportionately impact on lower income workers, so it’s right that we are taking this action to support people in the first years of their legal careers.

“It’s important to stress that we do no set pay for trainees but make a recommendation to support the sector. Pay must support trainees but equally be sustainable for firms employing up-and-coming lawyers. Inflationary pressures are also causing significant challenges for many law firms, particularly those in areas such as legal aid.

“We are also aware of increasing competition for Scottish law graduates from other sectors and professions. We need to continue to attract talented people to the profession through pay and other factors.”