City law pay bonanza — three firms boost junior wedge by as much as 9%

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Exclusive: Chunky NQ pay rises at Travers Smith, Mayer Brown and Dentons

A triumvirate of City law firms has boosted junior solicitor pay with deflation-busting rises that scrape the 9% mark — evidence that while cracking the Square Mile may be tougher than ever, once in, the money shower switches on.

And the cash bonanza is not reserved for young lawyers lucky enough to have bagged jobs with the City’s biggest players, as demonstrated by the dramatic increases at the London office of international firms Mayer Brown and Dentons, and mid-tier City player Travers Smith.

Legal Cheek can exclusively reveal that taking top honours in the latest round of pay increases is Travers Smith. The firm has chucked qualifying solicitors a pay rise of nearly 9% — which is hardly chicken feed at a time when the UK is technically in a period of deflation.

Travers — which offers around 25 training contracts annually — is bumping up qualification pay by £6,000 to £70K.

Next up is the London office of Chicago-founded Mayer Brown. The global firm — which takes on about 15 trainees annually — has awarded newly qualifying solicitors a generous pay rise of nearly 8%. That translates to a £5,000 boost from £64k to £69k.

And finally there is UK-founded international firm Dentons, which has ratcheted up its NQ pay by 7% from £61,000 to £65,000.

First-year trainees at the three firms have also benefited from the good times.

The biggest boost came at Mayer Brown, where first-years have been awarded a £2,500 pay rise taking them to £40,000. Dentons has awarded its newbies an increase of £1,000 — up to £40k. While, first-years at Travers received a comparatively paltry £500 boost, albeit one that took them to £40,500.

The salary hikes come after a host of magic circle and US firm London offices handed out pay rises during the spring and early summer. The top UK firm for NQ remuneration is now Allen & Overy, which pays rookie solicitors £78,500, while the London office of Sullivan & Cromwell heads the pack for US firms, paying NQs £101,500.

Check out the Legal Cheek Firms Most List for the full pay rankings.


Sullivan & Cromwell shoots to top of UK pay league with record £101,500 newly-qualified solicitor salary [Legal Cheek]



So base NQ pay is now higher at Travers Smith than Links or Freshies. Hm.


SullCrom Swagg

This likely means both Links and Freshies will whack salaries up in Q4 this year or early in 2016.

Judging by the current gap in pay, I wouldn’t be surprised if Links/FF jumped up to £80k NQ.


Freshfields Associate Pay

Freshfields pays its associated differently from other firms via bands where you progress on aptitude . The foundation band is between £67,500 – £77,500. Vast majority are £75k + at NQ.
Some are higher. Not including – by MC standards – generous bonuses.



But who wants to be on banded pay? Breeding ground for backstabbing and brown nosing…



Travers doing well then…



ROF amended the Travers NQ salary rate weeks ago…



…and Squire Patton Boggs get nothing! Again! Yayyy!


Bring it on

Pay rises all around I say!



Simmons also bumped first year trainees to £40k, second year to £45k and NQ to £68k


City 2 City

Far out, £68k for a shop like Simmons is impressive.



Yowza – backhanded praise much.


City 2 City

Not really, not an employee. Just impressed that a relatively obscure firm outside of the UK gives its NQs such a wedge.



I’ve heard Watson Farley & Williams have bumped first year pay to £41k…

Serious push for talent going on at the moment.



Where’s my bloody pay rise.


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