Kirkland & Ellis latest firm to join ‘100 club’ with junior lawyer pay boost

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By Thomas Connelly on

London office of Chicago-based outfit becomes the seventh firm to pay its NQs £100k


US law firm Kirkland & Ellis is now a fully-fledged member of the illustrious ‘100 Club’ — boosting the pay of its London newly qualified lawyers to a staggering £100k.

With a practice focus geared towards lucrative private equity work, the Chicago-headquartered firm has upped its junior lawyer pay by £3,000 to reach the six-figure salary.

Based in London’s iconic ‘Gherkin’ (pictured above), the US outfit — which offers around 12 training contracts annually — is now one of seven law firms from across the pond offering fresh-faced London associates £100,000 or more.

Washington DC-based Akin Gump, Texan outfit Vinson & Elkins and New York duo Davis Polk and Weil Gotshal & Manges have all upped NQ pay packets to the coveted £100,000 level.

But Californian Latham & Watkins sees off all three, paying its junior lawyers £101,000. Bragging rights, however, go to the London associates of Sullivan & Cromwell, who shot to the top of the pay league table last summer when their firm raised NQ salaries to an eye-watering £101.5k.

With this new breakaway group of high-paying US firms gaining in size, the magic circle is struggling to keep pace. Allen & Overy — the top paying magic circle outfit with an NQ rate of £78.5k — is still a whopping £21,500 behind this cluster of American outfits.

However, with a considerably lower number of training contracts on offer at the top paying US firms, they are better placed to offer the bigger money.

But students beware. Before you fire off those training contract applications in hot pursuit of that six figure salary, remember that these US firms will expect their pound of flesh, so don’t expect much of a social life.