A 2 per cent increase in pay rates for newly qualified (NQ) solicitors and trainees in London legal work may not sound much, but when it sets a starting base pay rate of £83,000 it sounds mighty attractive to young lawyers.
The increase came from Linklaters which has 100 training contracts issued annually. Firm trainees also received pay increases with year one solicitors receiving a seven per cent increase to £47,000.
But the comparisons can be difficult among the Magic Circle firms as some will include bonus figures and others will not.
Allen & Overy for instance lifted its NQ pay to £83,000 but did not include a bonus. Linklaters’ figure probably does not include any bonus – but there again it may. They don’t say. But their salaries surpass Clifford Chance’s £46,600 and the £45,000 at Freshfields, Slaughter and May and A&O.
Clifford Chance has increased junior rates to £91,000 which also included what is reported as a ‘binary bonus’.
Increased trainee and NQ rates follow mixed financial results for Linklaters, despite it having the largest increase in revenue for its group, which is up to £1.52bn, with profits per equity partner stay flat at £1.54m.
Linklaters, A&O, Freshfields and CC all increased their US associate salaries earlier this year, with Linklaters’ bringing wages to the same level as Cravath, Swaine & Moore and Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, which range from $190,000 to $340,000.