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

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By Jonathan Ames on

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]