A survey from the Law Society has found that junior lawyers do not see criminal defence as a long-term career.
Only one in five of 139 people surveyed said they did see criminal defence as viable. Nearly all respondents were aged between 18 and 35.
One respondent commented: ‘What other business is still charging 1995 rates?’. Another wrote: ‘Poor money. Poor working environment. Actively maligned by governments. Limited career opportunities. Crushing debt.’
Figures released earlier this year showed the number of duty solicitors under 35 has plummeted.
The Law Society has been campaigning to save the criminal defence sector from extinction and is expected to produce a hard-hitting response to the government’s controversial criminal legal aid consultation, which closes tomorrow.
Society president I. Stephanie Boyce said: “The results of our survey come as no surprise given criminal legal aid lawyers haven’t seen a meaningful fee increase in 25 years. The responses from aspiring solicitors underline the imperative for substantial government investment to protect the future of this crucial but endangered profession.”