Solicitor apprentice salaries across UK’s top law firms revealed

A recent report reveals that apprentices in London can earn over £25,000 in their first year of training. 

Legal Cheek, a legal website, has compiled a list of salaries to shed some light on what apprentices can expect to earn in a solicitor, or graduate solicitor, apprenticeship.  

What is a solicitor apprenticeship like?  

Typically taking place over 60 months (or five years), these apprenticeships are a chance to earn a salary while pursuing a fully funded law degree and qualifying through the solicitors qualifying examination (SQE).  

Solicitor apprentices split their time: they’ll usually do one day a week studying and spend the rest of the week undertaking practical work experience with their sponsoring law firm. 

Sometimes, law firms will offer something called a ‘graduate solicitor apprenticeship’ which is open to people who have already studied law at university. These graduate apprentices will still end up sitting the SQE, but the time it takes for them to complete their apprenticeship might be shorter. 

View our easy-read guide to this apprenticeship. 

Highest solicitor apprentice salary of £25,000 in the first year 

While the national minimum wage for first-year apprentices will be £6.40 per hour* from 1 April 2024 onwards, the data unveiled by Legal Cheek suggests solicitor apprentices in the UK have much higher earning potential. This is especially true for apprentices in London: some solicitor apprentices in the capital are earning well above £25,000 in their first year. 

Law firm Norton Rose Fulbright had the highest starting solicitor apprentice salary, with £28,000 per year. Other high-ranking firms include Bates Wells, Osborne Clarke, Dentons, Ashurst, and Gowling WLG, with first-year figures ranging from £25,000 to £28,000.   

Solicitor apprentice salaries rise the longer you work 

All the firms LegalCheek investigated offer incremental increases to solicitor apprentices. While the salary progression beyond the first year varies across firms, some firms provided detailed breakdowns for the subsequent years of apprenticeship.  

For example, Stephenson Harwood, a global law firm with an office in London, published their numbers: apprentices earn £30,000 in their second year; £35,000 in their third year; and £40,000 in their third year.  

At the other end of the scale, Express Solicitors, which has offices in Manchester, St Helens, and London, offers first-year apprentices £15,171. This increases up to £22,000 per year in the fourth year. 

In the final two years of their apprenticeship, individuals typically transition into their firm’s formal training contract program. At this stage, they often align with the salary scales offered to graduate trainees. 

To view the full list of law firm salaries, visit the LegalCheek Solicitor Apprenticeships Most List. 


*An individual working a full-time role (35 to 40 hours per week) on the 2024 national apprentice wage would earn between £11,648 and £13,312 per year before tax. 

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