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A survey of 3,000 trainee and newly qualified solicitors has revealed that a third work more than 50 hours a week. The survey for the Law Society by the Policy Studies Institute reports that employees of London firms or small Main Street firms (four partners or less) were more likely to work longer hours. The study found the average starting salary among newly-qualified solicitors is about $31,240 (�21,500). This figure rose to an average of $43,590 (�30,000) after 18 months, although the salaries for those in the major London firms tend to be $14,530 (�10,000) more. A former trainee at Slaughter and May says, “From the day I arrived, I was working for at least 12 hours a day, and I was not unique in doing so. “The hours are long, and the job invariably affects your private life. But you can’t complain when you compare your salary with those of your mates who leave college and start on �12,000 [$17,430].” She adds, “But long hours doesn’t always mean hard work. Many trainees sit at their desks until midnight even if they have nothing to do — just to give the impression that they’re keen and working hard.” Peter Charlton, managing partner at Clifford Chance, says, “Long hours are part of the job in all law firms. It’s a misnomer that U.K. lawyers don’t work as hard as their U.S. counterparts. But with demanding clients and increased workloads, long hours are inevitable.” Michael Napier, president of the Law Society, says, “All solicitors and firms can learn from the results of this study and use the information to look at ways in which any barriers to entry to the legal profession can be broken down.” He adds, “These young solicitors are the solicitors of the future — they are working long hours on behalf of clients, and firms must be aware of the pressures under which they operate. We must all take responsibility for nurturing their talents for the future.” The survey — The Law Student Cohort Study — has been following the progress of a group of prospective lawyers since 1992. It is examining patterns of entry into the profession, students’ experiences of the different stages of legal training and the resulting career decisions they make. It also found that solicitors working in London firms are more likely to have access to both work-related and child-care benefits compared to those in Main Street firms.

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