Salaries for the vital professions have been a subject of discussion for years.

But exactly how high (or low) are the wages for these positions?

This week we take the salary of lawyers specialized in social criminal law.

Lawyers are vital to the rule of law.

They defend innocent or innocent suspects in criminal proceedings, but also assist people in divorce proceedings or civil cases, for example.

Lawyers - especially those in criminal law - are sometimes said to stuff their pockets on the backs of others.

What is true of that?

What do you earn if you are just starting out?

Julian Gijsen, criminal lawyer at Karakaya Strafrechtadvocaten, emphasizes the difference between the so-called social lawyers, who mainly take on pro bono cases, and the 'Zuidasadvocaten', who charge considerably higher hourly rates.

In this article we limit ourselves to the first group.

"In the legal profession, everyone starts as an intern," says Gijsen. "That is mainly an internal job description, to the outside world you are just a lawyer. Previously, the vocational training lasted three years, recently two."

“How much you earn depends on several factors – including how well you can negotiate.”

A first-year intern will earn a gross amount of 2,464 euros per month in 2021, a second-year 2,808 and in the third year of internship (which is still available for some) the salary is 3121 euros.

The office where you are affiliated as an intern also pays for the training of almost 14,000 euros.

How do you continue to grow?

Apart from the above amounts, there is no such thing as salary scales in the legal profession.

So how much you earn depends on several factors - including how well you can negotiate.

According to Gijsen, the turnover that you generate as an individual lawyer for your firm is of crucial importance.

"If you bring in more and more cases for your employer, you can of course argue that you should improve every year."

In your fourth and fifth year you earn between 3,400 and 3,700 euros per month, estimates Gijsen.

Please note: that is with working weeks of often more than 50 hours, which are the rule rather than the exception in the legal profession.

What exactly is the difference with those so-called Zuidas lawyers?

Gijsen: "Social lawyers regularly assist people who have a low income. Below a certain income limit, citizens receive a subsidy from the government, which is paid to the lawyer. Then you are talking about different amounts than at the law firms on the Amsterdam Zuidas, where they have customers like Shell and Heineken and charge a starting rate of 300 to 400 euros per hour."

Would you like to develop further at your own pace?

On Intermediair you will find various online courses to boost your career.

For a social lawyer, the paying client is the exception.

"Personally, I don't like to be moved by money, and luckily I can afford that. I think it's much more important that I can do something for someone else. I also see that mentality in my colleagues. We get by and we can really do it." once out for dinner, but our salary is nothing compared to what is earned in the Zuidas, where only the trainees earn double what trainees in the social advocacy sector earn."

What is the highest achievable salary in the social legal profession?

In theory,

the sky is the limit

, provided you start your own business or become a partner at an office.

"The best move when you have a lot of regular clients and have built up a name is to start your own office," says Gijsen.

"Then it can pay really well, although of course you run more entrepreneurial risk. There are social criminal lawyers with their own office who live in a house of 1 million or more and drive a very fat car. But they are on a few hands counting, I guess."

Are there any extras?

There are offices, also in the social legal profession, that pay an annual bonus in the event of a favorable turnover, according to Gijsen.

But that will rarely exceed the amount of a thirteenth month's salary.

There is also holiday pay, but according to Gijsen many social offices do not have a pension scheme.

"I've heard more often that it wasn't there than it was."

“Crime is of course not limited to office hours, so lawyers also regularly work on weekends.”

In addition, there are reimbursements for the actions you perform during on-call services.

Crime is of course not limited to office hours, so lawyers also regularly work on weekends.

"Some offices offer a small amount for those services, but then you have to think of 50 to 100 euros. And sometimes you have to give up a whole weekend day for that."

What challenges does the profession face?

Family law lawyers in particular have been hit hard by 'the system', says Gijsen.

"Fees have come under pressure under VVD policy and this group was hit hardest by those cuts. This type of lawyer has unsubscribed en masse in recent years. They almost had to devote money to it to be able to do their job."

Gijsen also finds it a thorn in the side that the image prevails among lawyers that they are pickpockets on the backs of suspects, 'and shout all kinds of things in a courtroom, without paying attention to the other party'.

"I think that's a shame, because most colleagues do this because they want to mean something to their fellow man."

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