The COVID pandemic continues to eat into newly qualified (NQ) solicitors’ pay rates with Linkaters being the latest major law firm to announce further cuts to pay – this time a 10 per cent reduction.
In June Allen & Overy and Clifford Chance both cut NQ rates by 10 per cent as a result of the pandemic.
The A&O decrease reduced rates to £90,000 and showed a reversal of the trend towards a pay war among the major UK magic circle law firms.
Last year, A&O lifted its NQ pay from £83,000 the previous year to £100,000 in a bid to retain young talent in the NQ pay war triggered by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer as at 1 May who had made a large pay increase for NQs who had previously enjoyed pay of £85,000 pay cheque. The firm then lifted that figure by a hefty 18 per cent to pay NQs £100,000 a year as well as entitlement to bonuses.
This increase took Freshfields to the heady levels of the big US law firms like Covington & Burling and Sullivan & Cromwell.
But the days of such healthy increases for the NQs appear to be coming to a close as the pandemic’s effects hit them in the pocket.
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