Chartered legal executives As of May 2020, there were around 20,000 trainee and practising chartered legal executives.
Solicitors As of May 2021, there were 152,393 practising solicitors.
In 2020, there were 17,078 practising barristers. Of those, 13,502 were self-employed.
Women make up 49% of all solicitors and partners in law firms. But there are many more men than women at partner level – on average a large firm has 65-70% male partners and only 30-35% women. People from ethnic minority backgrounds make up 21% of all solicitors, as well as 22% at partner level.
Women make up around 38% of all practising barristers (ie, 6,499 women compared to 10,426 men).
Women make up around 74% of all CILEX members.
People from ethnic minority backgrounds make up 13.9% of all practising barristers (ie, 2,384).
People from ethnic minority backgrounds make up around 13% of all CILEX members and more than a third of new student members. Mostly employed in private law firms or in-house, so receive regular monthly salary.
Mostly self-employed, so receive irregular (but often substantial) fees. The early years can be hard.
Mostly employed in private law firms, so receive regular monthly salary.
Work mainly with solicitors and other barristers.
Work mainly with individuals, companies and barristers.
Work mainly with solicitors and individuals.
Office-based, although have some rights of audience (ie, can appear in court like barristers). Engage more in ongoing advisory and one- to-one client work. Many firms have introduced ‘hybrid’ working policies. Aspire to become partner – that is, part-ownership of firm and entitlement to a percentage of its profits. Trainee salaries vary widely. A small firm could pay £20,000. Trainees at regional firms earn around £27,000 while City firms pay from £35,000 to much, much more.
Chambers and court-based. Engage more in one-off advocacy (ie, court cases).
Office-based, although they have some of the same rights of audience as solicitors. Engage more in ongoing advisory and one-to-one client work.
Aspire to become Queen’s Counsel (QC) – a top barrister, normally instructed in very serious and complex cases. As of 1 January 2021, all pupil barristers must be paid a minimum of £16,601 (outside London) or £18,960 (in London). Many earn much more – upwards of £50,000 in some cases.
Should they choose to do so, legal executives can go on to become coroners, judges or partners. Starting salaries are usually between £15,000 and £28,000 per year while qualifying, while qualified chartered legal executives can expect to earn between £35,000 and £55,000, and can earn much higher.
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