BigLaw London Pay Rates Spiral Further

BigLaw London Pay Rates Spiral Further 2

The London law pay hikes continue as Herbert Smith Freehills has boosted its starting salary for junior lawyers to £120,000 as the firm lifts its pay rate by 24 per cent to meet the ongoing pay battle between major firms in the City.

The pay rises among law firms and others has lead to wider questions about the impact on inflation as well as what the Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey says are “societal questions” about whether workers should be asking for pay rises in the current economic climate.

Herbert Smith Freehills stated it had boosted newly qualified solicitors’ wages by another 14 per cent, as reported by The Times newspaper.

Junior lawyers already saw their pay packets boosted by 10 per cent at the end of last year.

However, the firm’s executive partner, Alison Brown, said it was key that it continued to attract “the very best talent” and said the firm wanted “to recognise high-performing lawyers at all levels”.

Magic Circle law firm Allen & Overy has gone against the grain by declaring a pay freeze for its junior lawyers. The firm had boosted pay for newly qualified solicitors to £107,500 in November last year.

Partner Promotions Increase

The talent war among law firms in London has also seen a large number of partner promotions as firms seek to retain top talent and increase the paths to partnership for their lawyers.

The City’s five Magic Circle law firms – Clifford Chance, Freshfields, Slaughter and May, Linklaters, and Allen & Overy – have promoted 152 lawyers to partnership this year alone, marking a 28 per cent increase on the 119 partners who were promoted in 2021.

This year Linklaters lead the way with partner promotions, by elevating  41 of its lawyers to partner level, up from 33 in 2021 and 30 in 2020.

Allen & Overy made 39 new partners this year (compared to 30 last year and 29 in 2020) and Clifford Chance, the largest firm the UK promoted 37  lawyers to partnership, being the largest number promoted since 2007.

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