Reports in London indicate that salaries in the high-paying London legal world, including the much-vaunted Magic Circle law firms, could fall as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic and remote working.
Several senior law firm partners are suggesting that paying remote workers hardly requires the high-paying salaries given that they are working remotely.
In June Clifford Chance cut salaries for its newly-qualified (NQ) associates in London in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The firm now offers NQs a total compensation package of £94,500 including a bonus, which is down from last year’s rate of £100,000 including a bonus.
Fellow Magic Circle firm Allen & Overy said that it would be cutting its NQ salaries by 10 per cent earlier this year, reducing them to £90,000 including a sign-on bonuses. That was a move that reversed its decision from last year to bump NQ pay to £100,000.
In June, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, which had helped set off the U.K. pay war in 2019 offering NQs a total salary package of £100,000, announced that it would hold its NQ pay at the same rate, while Slaughter and May cut its NQ salaries by £5,000 in May to £87,000.
Now, however, there appear to be further pay cuts looming as remote working sets to be in place with further lockdowns emerging and the large law firms – and smaller ones too – deciding they need to trim their budgets.