Baker & McKenzie boosts newly qualified lawyer pay to £70,000

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First year trainees will also walk away with £3,500 extra


The London office of global outfit Baker & McKenzie has increased its newly qualified (NQ) pay by £5,000.

Fresh-faced associates at the firm — that offers around 30 training contracts annually — will now pocket a cool £70,000. Equating to an increase of 8%, NQ pay packets now match that of magic circle outfits Slaughter and May and Clifford Chance.

The corporate all-rounder has also chucked extra cash at its trainees. Those in year one of their training contracts will now receive £42,000 a year, up from £39,500. This brings trainee remuneration again in line with many of the top City players including Allen & Overy and Linklaters. Second year pay has also been upped to £46,000, from £45,000.

With roots in Chicago and an international ethos, it’s difficult to categorise Baker & Mackenzie. Its 76 offices, the largest being London, mean that comparisons can be drawn to that of fellow global-behemoth DLA Piper — although that firm started life in Sheffield. But with pay increases placing Bakers squarely within magic circle territory, it’s clear that it wants to be taken seriously as one of the City’s elite.

Despite these boosts, it’s the London outposts of fully-fledged US firms that continue to dominate the pay league table.

According to Legal Cheek’s Most List, NQs at Sullivan & Cromwell, Latham & Watkins, Akin Gump, Davis Polk, Kirkland & Ellis and Weil Gotshal & Manges all earn a whopping £100,000 or more, thanks to salary increases introduced last year. But with US firms generally having a much smaller trainee intake, they are well positioned to flash the cash.

However, last week saw a prominent exception to this rule as Linklaters announced a staggering pay boost, with NQs set to take home up to £91,000 including bonuses. Expect more English firms to follow as the battle to attract the top future lawyer talent hots up.