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How much do lawyers earn in South Africa in 2019

According to New World Wealth’s latest report, a large number of South Africa’s wealthiest population studied a Bachelor of law or obtained a higher legal qualification.

However, even these individuals were affected by the country’s poor economic climate in 2017, according to a report by legal website Go Legal and recruitment firm GRM Search.

The report found that the majority of salaries in the South African market took their lead from the health of the local economy and political instability in 2017, as a number of large firms were only giving inflationary increases and in some support roles the increases were not even at inflation.

“There is always going to be the challenge of keeping key individuals happy and in these cases, there are instances of larger percentage increases, though these are often justified as being promotions rather than simple increases,” GRM Search said.

“At the more senior level, there have been instances of salary freezes and/or a request from Partners to recapitalise the firm. This can and has led to some discontent.”

Private practice

GRM Search broke down the expected salaries for 2018 based on the minimum, average and maximum for varying levels of seniority (years of post-qualified/articles experience – or PQE) within large, medium to small and boutique firms.

However, it noted that at the more senior end of the spectrum it is not practical to give an upper range as the salaries can vary substantially.

The lower end of the spectrum paints a clearer picture – attorneys working at a large firm can expect to earn anywhere between R350,000 and R1 million in the first two years post-articles.

The figures are similar at medium size firms, and at smaller firms where you can expect to earn between R100,000 and R500,000.

Overall,  salaries tend to remain constant until around the 10 year mark, after which they see significant increases due to seniority.

The exception is at highly-specialised boutique firms which start and end with significantly higher base salaries.

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