Magic Circle outfit Slaughter and May raises junior lawyers pay packets by a slither over 2%

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By Thomas Connelly on

Trainee remuneration at elite law firm also upped by £1,500


Magic Circle outfit Slaughter and May has revealed a modest pay boost for its trainee and junior lawyers, upping pay by £1,500.

This means that newly qualified (NQ) lawyers at the elite City outfit will now walk away with £71,500, up from £70,000, equating to an increase of just over 2%. First year trainees will now take home £42,500, up from £41,000 and their second year counterparts will receive £47,500, up from £46,000.

In the NQ pay league table, Slaughter and May remain comfortably above Freshfields (£67.5k) and Clifford Chance (£70k), but the relatively modest increase means they are still a distance behind both Allen & Overy and Linklaters.

Last summer, senior management at Allen & Overy signed off on whopping £12,000 pay increase, that saw fresh faced associates at the firm walk away with a cool £78,500. Earlier this year, Linklaters hiked NQ pay to a staggering £81,000, with potential earnings close to £91,000 when performance related bonuses are factored in. A move that saw several US firms in the City nervously looking over their shoulders.

It’s slightly better news for trainees at Slaughter and May. The increases means the City firm leapfrogs to the top the magic circle trainee pay table, with those in their first year of their training contract receiving £500 more than their counterparts at Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance and Linklaters (all on £42k). Trainees at Freshfields remain languishing at the bottom of the magic circle pay table, receiving (£41k).

The larger pay increases have — somewhat unsurprisingly — been reserved for those further up the pecking order. Lawyers with three years post-qualification experience will each get an extra £3,250 in their annual pay packets, taking final salaries up to £99,750, a rise of 3.4%. Two PQE associates will see pay packets swell to £90,250 — up from £87,000 — equating to an increase of just over 3.7%. And one PQE’s pay rises from £75,500 to £79,000, nearly 5% up.

According to legal blog Roll On Friday, the muted pay increase has left some lawyers at Slaughter and May feeling slightly underwhelmed. One source claimed that the extra cash had left associates feeling “pretty disillusioned”, while another commented:

We don’t expect to keep up with US firms, but when a lawyer at the same PQE at another MC firm is earning £10k more than you when your firm has just made up 10 new partners, it starts to grate.