Locum payment varies widely according to the demand, length of assignment, level of experience and advance notice available. Rates also go up during the summer and at times when lots of maternity leave begins, which in our experience is April/May and October/November.
Private Practice and In House Legal hourly rates 2013:
Conveyancing Locum Solicitors – 1-5 years PQE, handling residential standard sale price only – £20-25 per hour (slight variation for central London – £25-28 per hour).
Conveyancing Locum Solicitors – 5-35 years PQE, handling all levels of conveyancing including managing a department – £28-34 per hour, including central London.
Commercial Property Solicitors – 1-40 years PQE – usually mainly light commercial conveyancing rather than light and heavyweight. £25-35 per hour. Occasionally in the past we have had candidates up to £46 per hour.
Wills & Probate Solicitors and Executives – 3-35 years PQE – £20-30 per hour. Add on an extra 20% to the price for a STEP member. For a lawyer experienced in tax and trusts add on an additional 15%.
Family Solicitors – 4-40 years PQE – £20-25 per hour. Very occasionally this goes up to £30 per hour for short notice or a few days cover. Family locums tend to be LSC supervisors and/or panel members.
Civil Litigation – 1-35 years PQE. £23-30 per hour. Really depends on the type of litigation you have – these rates cover mainstream litigation – eg county court and small claims matters. Rates considerably higher for high court work.
Hourly rate equivalents:
- £20 per hour = £750 per week or £36,000 per annum (assuming a 7.5 hour day and a 48 week year).
- £25 per hour = £937.50 per week or £45,000 per annum.
- £30 per hour = £1,125 per week or £54,000 per annum.
Please note that these are not salaries per se – firstly most locums are self employed and the tax is usually less, and secondly very few locums work more than 8 out of every 12 months of the year.
Local authority hourly rates for all areas of law tend to be around £30-45 per hour (£45 per hour salary equivalent to £81,000 per annum).
Unfortunately in recent times local authority locum recruitment has been outpricing the general market due to the questionable practice of using an interim management company to control and restrict the agencies who have access to that particular local authority. Hourly rates are preset, and those we have seen tend to be well above the levels elsewhere in the profession for the same level of locum. The agencies pay the candidate through the interim management software and get a percentage cut per hour. The interim management company also takes an hourly cut.
Presumably this is because the local authorities are paying for the interim management company to do the work they should be doing themselves (after all how long does it really take a HR Manager to call round 5-6 specialist agencies to get a locum booked for the following week), but there we go!
(NB: If any local authority wishes to respond to this please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will publish your response here in full).