CMS finally brings newly-qualified lawyer pay back to 2008 levels with £3k rise

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By Thomas Connelly on

In the wake of major London salary boosts, CMS returns to pre-crash level by cautiously increasing junior lawyer remuneration


London-based global franchise law firm CMS Cameron McKenna today announced that newly qualified (NQ) lawyers will receive a 5% boost to pay packets — taking fresh-faced solicitors to the level of dosh their predecessors received pre-global financial crisis.

Trainees also received a dollop of extra cash in today’s round of CMS management munificence.

The firm, which offers around 80 training contracts annually — will boost associate pay to £66,000. Trainees will also receive a welcome cash injection with first-year salaries rising from £38,000 to £40,000 and second-year trainee pay going from £43,000 to £45,000. Back in 2008 CMS was paying its new associates — yep, you guessed it — £66,000.

The 18-office outfit — which falls under the larger European CMS umbrella — will leapfrog some major City players in the NQ pay stakes, including Ashurst and the London office of US franchise rivals Baker & McKenzie.

And the increase to trainee pay will also put the firm in good company, with Washington DC-based Atkin Gump and New Yorkers Cleary Gottlieb.

But today’s development will not worry CMS’s magic circle counterparts. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer — home to the worst paid NQs of the City elite — still offers their junior solicitors £67,500, a full £1,500 more than new legal talent at CMS.

Another magic circle player, Allen & Overy, earlier this month chucked a whopping extra £12,000 at its recently qualified lawyers, taking salaries to £78,500, enough to make some of the US firms in the City look over their shoulders.