Solicitor salaries in the UK have never been higher, and the averages are likely to keep increasing in the years to come. Being a solicitor is a challenging and rewarding profession. A solicitor’s earnings vary based on their area of law, sector, location, workplace size, and career stage. In this article, we will break down solicitor salaries in the UK.

Solicitor Salary in the UK

Solicitors in the UK earn on average £45,000 per year. However, this figure can be higher in London, where the demand and cost of living are also higher, and in larger, more prestigious law firms.

In contrast, entry-level solicitors or those working in smaller practices or outside major cities may earn less than this average. Factors such as specialization, years of experience, and additional qualifications also play a crucial role in a solicitor’s salary.

Solicitor Salaries in UK and Size of Law Firm Infographic

Considering the costs of LPC, the cost of PGDL courses, and how much SQE prep course providers charge, such high salaries offset the cost of education.

Solicitor Salaries by Cities in the UK

In various cities in the UK, solicitor salaries can range between £25,000 to £200,000+. It’s essential to examine how geographic location within the country affects solicitors’ salaries. The UK presents a diverse landscape in terms of legal market salaries, with significant variations observed across different cities. Working as a solicitor starts with becoming a trainee, take a look at our training contract deadlines calendar.


The average salary for a solicitor in London is between £55,000 and £66,000, indicative of the City’s status as a major legal hub. These figures encapsulate the diverse opportunities and levels of experience within the legal field. The highest salaries in London can reach up to approximately £99,000, reflecting the high demand and prestigious nature of legal positions in the UK’s capital.

Solicitor Salaries in UK Cities Infographic


Solicitors in Manchester, a key city in the UK’s legal landscape, see an average salary ranging from £48,000 to £50,000. This range suggests a healthy legal market in the city, accommodating a variety of legal expertise and experience levels. On the higher end, solicitors in Manchester can earn up to around £58,000 to £66,000, showcasing the potential for career growth and financial advancement in the region’s legal sector.


In Leeds, the legal profession offers competitive salaries, with the average solicitor earning between £47,000 and £53,000. This salary range is reflective of Leeds’ growing importance as a legal centre in the UK. For those at the top of their field, the highest salaries can extend up to approximately £82,000, demonstrating the lucrative opportunities available for experienced solicitors in the city​​​​​​​.


Birmingham’s legal market presents an average solicitor salary ranging from £47,000 to £50,000. These figures indicate a robust demand for legal services in the city, alongside a diverse range of roles within the legal industry. The highest salary brackets in Birmingham are reported to be between £61,000 and £65,000, highlighting the rewarding potential for skilled solicitors in the region.


Solicitors in Bristol enjoy a favourable salary range, with average earnings of £40,000 to £58,000. This range underscores Bristol’s vibrant legal market and the city’s capacity to accommodate a wide spectrum of legal professionals. The top earners in Bristol’s legal field can expect salaries of around £56,000 to £58,000, illustrating the high-value positions available for top-tier legal experts in the city.


In Newcastle, the average salary for solicitors stands at about £48,000. This figure reflects the steady demand for legal expertise in the city and the diverse opportunities within its legal sector. Solicitors at the higher end of the salary scale can earn between £54,000 and £59,000, showcasing Newcastle’s potential for career growth and financial success in the legal field.

Solicitor Salaries: Size of Law Firm

It is important to explore how the size of a law firm can significantly impact the salaries of solicitors in the UK. Generally, larger law firms, often referred to as ‘City firms’ in London, tend to offer higher salaries compared to smaller, regional practices. This disparity is primarily due to the larger client base, higher-profile cases, and greater revenue generated by bigger firms.

Magic Circle Law Firm Salaries

On average, Magic Circle law firm solicitors make £185,000 a year, which is among the highest in the legal profession in the UK. Although there may be minor variations in solicitor pay among these firms, they generally offer similar compensation packages.

As a first-year trainee at A&O, you would earn up to £46,500 per year. A second trainee earns up to £52,500. If you do choose to stay on as a newly qualified lawyer, you could earn at least £100,000 including any bonuses. Lastly, an equity partner at A&O earns roughly around the £1.6m mark.

A first-year trainee at Clifford Chance earns £48,000 a year and this increases as a second trainee. A second-year trainee earns up to £54,000 a year. A newly qualified lawyer at Clifford Chance earns £100,000 including bonuses and a partner at the firm will earn up to £1.6-1.7m per year.

Compared to Allen & Overy and Clifford Chance, first-year trainees at Freshfields earn slightly less, approximately £45,000 per year. This is also the same case as a second-year trainee who can earn up to £51,000 per year. Newly qualified lawyers earn around £100,000 including bonuses and partners can earn up to £1.8m.

Out of all the Magic Circle firms, Linklaters pays their first-year trainees the highest, about £50,000 to be exact. As a second-year trainee at Linklaters, you can expect to earn up to £55,000 per year. A newly qualified lawyer similarly to the aforementioned law firms will also earn up to £100,000 including any bonuses. An equity partner at the firm earns £1.6m per year.

At Slaughter and May, a first-year trainee will earn £47,000 per year and the following year, as a second-year trainee, they will earn £52,500. The salary for a newly qualified lawyer is £90,500 which is significantly less compared to the other Magic Circle law firms.

High-Street Law Firm Salaries

In comparison to the Magic Circle firms, high-street law firms offer lower salaries. Trainees at high-street firms typically earn between £24,000 to £32,000, while solicitors can earn between £32,000 to £47,000+ after qualifying. It is important to note that there are also recommended minimum trainee solicitor salaries by the SRA.

Regional Law Firm Salaries

On average, newly qualified solicitors would generally earn from £30,000 to 45.000+. First-year trainees at a regional firm earn between £20,000 to £25,000 per year. The pay bracket increases for second-year trainees as they earn from £25,000 to £30,000.

National Law Firm Salaries

Solicitors working in national law firms typically earn an average salary between £50,000 and £60,000 per year. Solicitors at national law firms will earn more than those at regional firms. This is because they have at least some offices in different regions of the country whereas regional firms are only limited to a region. Examples of national law firms include CMS, Pinsent Masons, Eversheds Sutherland, DLA Piper, Addleshaw Goddard, Clyde & Co, and many more.

First-year trainees at CMS can expect to earn around £40,250 per year. Furthermore, second-year trainees earn £44,000 per year and newly qualified solicitors at CMS can earn £61,500.

Pinsent Masons pay their first-year trainees between £27,000 and £41,000. Second-year trainees earn slightly more, from £30,000 to £44,000 per year. Newly qualified lawyers at PM can expect to earn from £45,000 to £72,500.

In London, a first-year trainee at DLA Piper will earn £45,000 whereas, in other parts of the UK, a first-year trainee will be paid £28,000. A second-year trainee not in London will earn £31,000 but those in London will earn £50,000 per year. Newly qualified solicitors in London will earn £76,000 whereas those in the rest of the UK earn £44,000.

The salary of a first-year trainee at Addleshaw Goddard will vary depending on location. First-year trainees working in London will earn £40,000 whereas first-year trainees in the North will earn £27,500. As second-year trainees, they’ll earn £43,000 if they work in London or £29,500 in the North. NQ salary at AA is £75,000 in London and £45,000 in the North.

A first-year trainee at Clyde & Co can earn up to £38,000 in London or £24,500 in Manchester. This goes up for second-year trainees at they’ll earn £40,000 in London or £26,500 in Manchester. A newly qualified solicitor at Clyde & Co in London will earn £68,000 however it is undisclosed for NQ lawyers in Manchester.

Silver Circle Law Firm Salaries

On average, solicitors working in Silver Circle law firms can expect to earn between £80,000 to £90,000 per year, a figure that reflects their position in the market as highly competitive yet distinct from the Magic Circle firms.

First-year trainees at Ashurst can earn up to £46,000 per year which goes up to £54,000 when they become second-year trainees. NQ salary at Ashurst is around the £84,000 mark.

BCLP pays their first-year trainees in London, £44,000 per year whereas those in Manchester are paid £27,000 per year. Second-year trainees earn £30,000 in Manchester whereas, in London, they are paid higher, specifically £48,000. NQ salary is undisclosed for those in Manchester but those in London can expect a salary of £78,000 per year.

Travers Smith pays their first-year trainees approximately £46,500. Second-year trainees can expect to learn £52,000 per year. A newly qualified lawyer at TS will earn £80,000.

First-year trainees at Macfarlanes earn £44,000 and second-year trainees, they’ll earn £49,000. After securing a qualified job at Macfarlanes, a newly qualified lawyer can expect to earn £80,000.

US Law Firm Salaries

Solicitors employed by US law firms in the UK typically earn an average salary of around £100,000 to £120,000 per year, which is among the highest in the UK legal market.

First-year trainees at Akin Gump earn approximately £50,000 per year. As a second-year trainee can earn up to £55,000. As newly qualified lawyers, however, they can earn £148,920.

At Baker McKenzie, first-year trainees can potentially earn around £48,000. Their second-year trainees earn around £52,000 and newly qualified lawyers at BM may earn around £90,000.

First-year trainees at White & Case earn £50,000. Their second-year trainees are paid £55,000. Newly qualified lawyers can earn £130,000.

Solicitor Salaries by Area of Legal Practice

With averages ranging from around £42,500 in clinical negligence to £79,500 in insurance law, solicitor salaries definitely vary significantly across specializations. Below, you can explore the remuneration trends across various legal fields, providing a snapshot of the financial landscape in these diverse areas of legal practice. Take a look at our vacation scheme deadlines to apply on time.

Solicitor Salaries by Area of Legal Practice Infographic

Corporate Law

With an average salary of about £60,000, corporate law in the UK offers a range where the highest salary for solicitors can reach around £85,000, and the entry-level positions start at around £45,000. This range demonstrates the lucrative potential and varied opportunities in corporate legal practices.

Criminal Law

In criminal law, the average salary is around £43,666, with the highest-paid criminal lawyers earning approximately £64,509 per year, and starting salaries for entry-level positions beginning at £39,000 per year. This reflects the rigorous demands and critical nature of work in the criminal law sector.

Environmental Law

Solicitors in environmental law earn an average of around £55,000, with the highest salary reaching about £76,500 and entry-level positions starting at £49,125. This salary structure highlights the growing importance and specialization required in environmental law.

Intellectual Property Law

The average salary for intellectual property lawyers is around £72,500, with more experienced lawyers earning up to £90,000 per year, and entry-level solicitors starting at approximately £61,750. These figures underscore the high value and expertise demanded in the IP law sector.

Insurance Law

In insurance law, the average salary stands at £79,500, while experienced insurance lawyers can earn as much as £90,000. Entry-level positions in this field offer around £55,000, reflecting the complexity and significance of insurance law in various sectors.

Clinical Negligence Law

The average salary for clinical negligence lawyers is around £42,500 per year, with experienced lawyers earning about £65,000 and entry-level salaries starting at £37,500. This pay structure indicates the specialized nature of handling clinical negligence cases.

Employment Law

In employment law, the average salary is approximately £48,750 per year, with the highest earnings around £74,220 and entry-level salaries at £40,000. This reflects the importance of legal expertise in managing and mediating workplace issues and disputes.

Human Rights Law

For solicitors specializing in human rights law, while the average salary is around £20,750 per year, the sector is characterized by its focus on justice and advocacy over high earnings. This area is often pursued for its profound impact on individual rights and societal change, rather than its financial rewards.

Frequently Asked Questions

Questions often arise when discussing solicitors’ pay. Below are the answers to those questions.

Do solicitors make good money in the UK?

Yes, solicitors generally make good money in the UK, with newly qualified solicitors ranging from around £25,000 in smaller regional firms to over £100,000 in some US and Magic Circle firms in London. Salaries vary based on experience, location, and the type of law firm. Experienced solicitors in specialized fields or in senior positions can earn significantly more.

Check out our guide on lawyer salaries in Canada if you want to work there!

What is the highest-paid type of solicitor?

The highest-paid type of solicitor is typically found in fields like mergers and acquisitions, corporate law, financial law, and international law, especially those working in large London-based or international firms. These areas often deal with high-value transactions and complex legal matters, requiring specialized expertise.

What type of solicitor earns the most in the UK?

In the UK, solicitors specializing in corporate law, particularly those involved in mergers and acquisitions, financial services, and international business law, tend to be among the highest earners. Additionally, solicitors working in commercial law and intellectual property law in major cities like London also report high earnings.

How much do newly qualified solicitors make in the UK?

On average, they earn between £25,000 to £40,000 in regional firms and between £60,000 to over £100,000 in larger London firms. Newly qualified solicitors in the UK can expect to earn a wide range of salaries depending on their location and the size of the firm. US law firms in London often offer the highest starting salaries.

It is interesting to note that SRA has a chart of default solicitor salaries that it uses where individuals fail to provide income evidence. This default salary is set at a high level, derived from market data and surveys of solicitors, to encourage individuals to submit their income details.

How much do the top 1% of lawyers make?

The top 1% of lawyers make over £1 million a year, these are often partners in large law firms or highly successful barristers. While exact figures vary, it’s not uncommon for these professionals to earn anywhere between £500,000 to over £2 million a year, with some even reaching 3 million, particularly in major law firms or through high-profile cases.

Which type of law makes the most money?

Generally, corporate law, especially areas like mergers and acquisitions, banking and finance law, and international law, are among the most lucrative fields in law. These areas deal with high-value transactions and complex, high-stakes legal matters, often requiring specialized knowledge and expertise. You can always increase your chances of applying for higher-paying jobs with a tailored cover letter and a CV.