Clifford Chance leaps to joint top of junior lawyer pay league table

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Freshfields and Allen & Overy are the remaining magic circle firms keeping trainees and newly-qualified solicitors on tenterhooks


Canary Wharf’s largest law firm has joined the rush to boost junior lawyer salaries, moving to joint top of the English pay league table.

Clifford Chance has surpassed several City of London magic circle rivals in the munificence stakes for both trainees and newly-qualified solicitors.

The global practice announced within the last hour that as of the beginning of this September, qualifying lawyers will be on annual basic salaries of £70,000, bringing CC in line with earlier moves from Slaughter and May and transatlantic giant Hogan Lovells.

And the nearly 4% boost takes Clifford Chance NQs above their Linklaters counterparts, who are languishing on £68,500.

CC went an extra step and also shed light on its bonus structure for junior lawyers. The maximum top-up for performance during the first year of qualification will now be £14,000.

Three-year pqe lawyers at the firm can earn a basic salary of £98,500, which will rise to slightly more than £128,000 with a maximum bonus.

First-year trainee pay rises also take CC to the top of that English firm league table. The £42,000 figure matches that of magic circle rivals Freshfields Bruchaus Deringer. However, the Anglo-German behemoth has yet to announce whether it is boosting junior lawyer pay this year.

Second-year trainees at CC have been put on annual whacks of 47,300.

The firm’s London managing partner, David Bickerton, attributed the dosh increases to “a very strong performance over the last year winning instructions on many pieces of high-profile and complex work, generating excellent results for clients and maintaining our leading position in this highly competitive market”.

Bickerton continued, saying that “today’s salary increases and bonuses are recognition of the high quality of our lawyers”.



Linklaters takes trainee pay honours for English firms — just days after Hogan Lovells shot to top spot [Legal Cheek]

Slaughter and May leaps to top of magic circle newly-qualified pay pile [Legal Cheek]



LC, what is your source regarding Freshfields’ 42k salary for 1st years?



Golly it’s been a dull week on legalcheek



Freshfields first year is £40.5k, not £42



Moreover, the name of the firm is spelt incorrectly



I’m confused about how these pay rises work. Do they apply to future trainees who have already accepted offers or the new intake?



Can’t wait for this trend to trickle up to Scottish firms (oh wait, things don’t trickle upwards, do they?).



Very dull website Legal Cheek not funny not intellectual



There seems to be a lot of bashing on Legal Cheek in the comments over the last week or so. Assuming you come here for what they profess to deliver, i.e. a light-hearted view on the legal world, then I don’t see how you can be disappointed? If I want humour I would go elsewhere (law is inherently unfunny) and if I want intellect I would also go elsewhere (plenty of technical legal blogs out there). Given the relative demise of ROF from its glory days, it is nice to have something fun pop up in the news feed every day touching on our industry. *disclosure* I’m not involved in LC in the slightest; just enjoy the occasional coffee break read!



Well said!


Not Amused

“law is inherently unfunny”

I would dispute that. Have you seen Jonathan’s Sumptuous hair?



Surely regional offices of other international law firms should step up their game. Seen some depressing figures in comparison with London trainee salaries.


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