The booming legal market in London has driven pay rates up, but also meant those with the prized London law jobs are having to work up to 7 days a week for the major money being paid by the Big Law firms.
The massive increase in pay rates that we have reported here and here, continue to propel first year lawyer pay and continue to attract young lawyers to London law jobs, but at a cost that is also seeing some leave the profession after a frenetic period of hyper activity, compounded by the issue of dealing with the Covid pandemic and the issues that has created.
Massive profits have been made by equity partners in the Big Law firms with Clifford Chance, A&O and others moving towards equity partner profits of £2m while others have also significantly increased their drawings from the booming M&A, private equity, tech sector, regulatory and other market conditions that continue to drive profits – and workflow for the newly qualified lawyers taking home increased salaries.
The competition for legal talent continues, even though the pressure of work and the frequent 7 day work week make a law job in London less attractive for some and has also reportedly driven some from the legal profession altogether.
The Major Money London Law Rates
The US law firms like Davis Polk & Wardwell and Latham & Watkins have paid major Covid bonuses to their junior lawyers and the practice has been adopted by the Magic Circle law firms who have paid one-off bonus payments to staff of 5 per cent of their salary.
And the salaries have already been healthy with firms like Clifford Chance, Slaughter & May, A&O, Linklaters and Macfarlanes increasing payments to £100,000 while other firms like Milbank have paid up to 50 per cent more to continue to attract young lawyers to their firms.
And as the pay war continues, the attrition rate for lawyers leaving the profession has also increased.
However, it is apparent that the successful law firms in the new age of remote working and high deal flow are seeking their lawyers not only regionally, but globally.
Recruiters from major recruitment firms and from the Big Law outfits are spreading their recruitment net far and wide to attract new talent – from around the United Kingdom, but also South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
And the response has been high as the London law job salaries and the attraction of the world financial centre and partnership prospects fail to dim the appetite for those seeking a bigger slice of the salary pie.
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