Mind the gap: London lawyer salaries dwarf the regional earnings of their counterparts

Oliver Gill
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Lawyer Amal Clooney (left) studied in the UK but started out at the New York office of Sullivan & Cromwell where the starting salary is now $160,000 (Source: Getty)
ewly qualified London lawyers earn nearly double what their non-London counterparts can expect to receive, according to figures released by a specialist legal recruiter.

Outside of London the best paid commercial lawyers can be found in the north west of England, with a newly qualified legal eagle receiving an average of £39,000. But their equivalents inside the M25 demand £65,000, according to data from BCL Legal Recruitment.

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Furthermore, the salary gap widens as freshly minted lawyers work through their careers.

London-based commercial lawyers can expect their pay to increase by an average of £5,000, compared with an average £2,000 annual increase outside of the capital.

The worst paid newly qualified commercial lawyers were to be found in the north east, where the average salary was £34,000.

The net package

Nevertheless, the managing director of BCL Legal Recruitment, James Batt warned those drawn to the south east to think carefully about the net costs.

“It might seem great choosing to live and work in London, as the salaries are higher than anywhere else in the UK. However, you do need to take into account the cost of living," he said.

You may earn £20,000 a year more than those based elsewhere, but you can also pay many times more on your rent, travel and lifestyle, which can bring your income much lower than expected.

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In addition, the data revealed the difference in salaries for those working in general practice was much less.

Newly qualified general practice lawyer salaries can be as low as £27,000 in London, only £3,000 less in the north west, Yorkshire, north east and south west of England. In some instances, lawyers could receive up to £1,000 more if living in the Midlands.

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