I am aware that in general top barristers earn more than solicitors and their salary is based on how much they work as they are their own boss as such. However, someone recently told me that the number of barristers on £500,000 + a yr is very very few, even less on £1m+ – whereas the number of solicitors who earn £500,000+ is getting more than the number of barristers despite the fact they rarely get near the £1m+ mark as a few barristers do. I was wondering what the pay differentials are like for a TOP solicitor and a TOP barrister in the city and whether this information is correct? Would most of these solicitors work for firms like Slaughter and May and Clifford Chance? What is the average salary paId out by these firms in the so named ‘magic circle’? Many thanks. I think I found an answer. Once a solicitor becomes a equity partner then they take a share of the firm’s earnings. For example Linklater partners earned on average £1. 06 million off their equity share, Slaughter and May partners £1. 12 million (see www. Thelawyer. Com for more figures). The number of barristers who beat top partners is very small, and you would have to be very good to be made a partner at a top law firm or a barrister in that earning bracket. With the increase in M&A, derivatives use and capital markets expansion law firm profits have been rising and the trend has been for law firm profits to rise so have partners equity value. Furthermore, this increase has brought in many American firms like White & Case, Skadden, etc. Many of these pay more than magic circle firms especially at more junior level (see ), though they tend to be more demanding. Over the course of the career a good solicitor at a commercial city firm and a good commercial barrister would probably earn similar sums, though they differ at different stages, e. G. The solicitor may move ahead upon qualification or the barrister may be ahead if he takes silk before the solicitor becomes a partner. Either way they will both be earning lots of money so it shouldn’t be the main factor in making a choice between the two. They both require different lifestyles and skills and you should look into which of these is a better fit. They both require lots of training, technically solicitor will take longer to qualify as it takes the academic stage plus the LPC yr and two years of a training contract compared to one yr on the BVC and then a pupillage. That said because there is less financial support available training for the bar is riskier (unless you’re good enough for an Inn of Court scholarship). Finally what I’ve said applies to corporate and financial law as practiced in the City where the high earners are. Criminal, family law and personal injury lawyers of both kind will typically earn much less than them.