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Reed Smith ups newly qualified pay — and hours targets

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Rookie remuneration rises to £63,000 as billing targets increase by 100 hours

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Anglo-US outfit Reed Smith has boosted the pay packets of its newly qualified (NQ) lawyers, as billing targets at the firm are brought in line with City rivals.

Reed Smith has confirmed to Legal Cheek today that its NQ salaries have been upped from £61,000 to £63,000, with the increase taking effect last month.

The move sees the firm leapfrog City rivals such as Stephenson Harwood (£62,000), Addleshaw Goddard (£61,000) and Trowers & Hamlins (£62,000).

That’s the good news. Now for the catch: on the back of the pay rise, Reed Smith has also upped billing targets for its junior lawyers.

Associates at the London office will see targets — that currently sit at 1,500 hours a year — increase by 100 hours next year to an annual 1,600 target. That’s the same as Addleshaw and slightly more than Trowers & Hamlins and Stephenson Harwood, where targets sit at 1,560 and 1,550 respectively.

Looking further ahead to 2018, Reed Smith has pledged to raise its hours target by another 100 hours to 1,700, equating to a total rise of 13%. That will place it on the same level as Baker & McKenzie, Herbert Smith Freehills, Hogan Lovells and
Linklaters, but some way off City hours leaders Kirkland & Ellis and Latham & Watkins, where lawyers are expected to bill 1,900 hours annually. Check out the Legal Cheek Firms Most List for a full ranking of firms by annual hours targets. Reed Smith did not specify if it planned to raise NQ pay again during this period.

A spokesperson for the firm told Legal Cheek:

This move reflects the growth of our business over recent years and our ambition for the future. It will bring the firm into line with the market, where many other firms moved to these targets some time ago.

The spokesperson proceeded to emphasise the firm’s policy of paying associates beyond NQ level according to performance rather than seniority, commenting:

At Reed Smith, we take a performance rather than a PQE based approach and our competencies, expected hours and remuneration structures ensure that each lawyer can be rewarded for performance and not just for years post qualification.