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When you picture a lawyer, an image of extremely wealthy men and women in power-suits, liaising with clients in expensive restaurants and being chauffeured to their next corporate meeting, may come to mind.

Perpetuated by media representations of the profession, this encourages questions around salaries: what is the average barrister salary? What is a typical solicitor salary?

Training to become a lawyer takes up a huge amount of time and money, so the least you can expect is a little compensation financially once the education part has been completed.

Keen to know how much lawyers actually earn? We’ve compiled the average salaries for both types of lawyers: solicitors and barristers.

However, it’s important to note that actual lawyer salaries vary massively depending on a number of factors: the area of law they work in (for example, corporate lawyers are known to earn a little more than criminal), where in the world you work and the type of law firm you work in – whether it be a bigger, City firm or a smaller, local firm.

Want to know what the top lawyers at Magic Circle firms earn? Take a look at our Magic Circle Law Firms: The Ultimate Guide to find out the average salary of partners at the biggest London firms!

Magic Circle Law Firms: The Ultimate Guide

Lawyer Salary: Solicitor Salary

As previously mentioned, the salaries vary hugely by firm and by practice area, but the information below should serve as a rough guide to the average solicitor salary.

Remember that solicitors must complete a two-year training contract before entering the ‘Post-Qualified Experience’ or ‘PQE’ stage.


Year 1
Year 2
Year 1
Commercial Law£40,000-£50,000£45,000-£55,000£70,000-£120,000
Public law£20,000-£30,000£25,000-£35,000£35,000-£45,000
Criminal law£18,000-£25,000£20,000-£28,000£22,000-£30,000
Family law£25,000-£35,000£30,000-£40,000£40,000-£60,000

Now see what Magic Circle firm lawyers earn from trainees to partners!

Lawyer Salary: Barrister Salary

Similarly, barristers’ salaries fluctuate in line with what area of law the chambers practices.

Remember that barristers must complete a one-year pupillage after which they may be accepted by the chambers as a ‘tenant’.


Year 1
Year 2
Commercial Law£45,000-£70,000£70,000-£150,000£80,000-£200,000
Public law£20,000-£70,000£35,000-£80,000£40,000-£90,000
Criminal law£12,000-£20,000£14,000-£30,000£16,000-£40,000
Family law£14,000-£35,000£16,000-£40,000£18,000-£55,000


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