Legal Locum Hourly Rates
Locum hourly rate payment varies widely according to the demand, length of assignment, level of experience and advance notice available. Hourly rates go up during the summer (June-September) and at times when there is an increase in maternity leave cover, which in our experience is usually April/May and October/November.
NB: These rates are intended as a guide only. Hourly rates can vary according to the location, duration and level of expertise, but the figures quoted are quite accurate for the majority of short to medium term locum assignments across the UK. There has been a steady increase in hourly rates since 2011.
2015 Private Practice Law Firm Rates:
* Conveyancing Locum Solicitors – 1-5 years PQE, handling residential standard sale price only – £26-30 per hour (slight variation for central London – £29-35 per hour).
* Conveyancing Locum Solicitors & ILEX – 5-35 years PQE, handling all levels of conveyancing including managing a department – £30-40 per hour, including central London.
* Commercial Property Solicitors – 1-40 years PQE – usually mainly light commercial conveyancing rather than light and heavyweight. £35-50 per hour.
* Wills & Probate Solicitors and Executives – 3-35 years PQE – £35-43 per hour.
* Family Solicitors – 4-40 years PQE – £23-30 per hour. Very occasionally this goes up to £35 per hour for short notice or a few days cover.
* Civil Litigation – 1-35 years PQE. £27-35 per hour. These rates cover mainstream litigation – eg county court and small claims matters.
Hourly Rate, Weekly Rate and Salary 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 £35-55 per hour (£45 per hour salary equivalent to £81,000 per annum).
In recent times local authority lawyer 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 law department. 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 interim management software (eg Matrix and Comensura) and get a percentage cut per hour. The interim management company also takes an hourly cut.
Presumably this system is used because the local authorities are paying for the interim management company to do the work they used to do 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).