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US firm that pays London newly qualified lawyers £101k boosts trainee intake by 20%

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Latham & Watkins now offering more training contracts than many mid-tier City outfits

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Californian-heavyweight Latham & Watkins has revealed that it’s to boost trainee intake in London for the 2015-16 recruitment round from 20 to 24.

The move marks a chunky 20% increase — and comes hot-on-the heels of a substantial pay rise given to the firm’s junior lawyers in the capital.

Over the summer Latham upped its newly-qualified (NQ) lawyer pay to a staggering £101,000. The cash injection saw the global powerhouse surpass big-paying US counterparts Akin Gump and Davis Polk, which — despite having smaller trainee intakes — both pay NQs a mere £100,000 a year.

But Latham isn’t the City’s top NQ remunerator. Leading the junior lawyer pay table — as Legal Cheek exclusively revealed back in August — is white shoe stalwart Sullivan & Cromwell.

The firm’s London office sent a powerful message to its City competitors by raising first year associate pay to an eye-watering £101,500. The increase left the nearest English firm, magic circle player Allen & Overy, languishing £23,000 behind.

Today’s news about Latham’s graduate intake increase follows a number of similar recent moves by other top firms.

Earlier this month global titan White & Case revealed that it will boost its London intake from 30 trainees to 40, an increase of 33%. Meanwhile silver circle firm Ashurst revealed a graduate recruitment target increase of 12.5%. The silver circle firm hopes to hire 45 aspiring solicitors for the 2015-16 recruitment round.