Shearman & Sterling boosts junior lawyer pay packets by 8% to £95,000

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By Katie King on

Pay rises across the board for lucky associates


US giant Shearman & Sterling has today announced generous salary rate increases for its City-based associates at all levels.

Just in time for the summer holidays.

From 1 May, newly qualified (NQ) associates will enjoy a pretty hefty annual salary of £95,000, up £7,000 (7.9%) from last year.

Lawyers at the firm who are 3.5 years post qualified will line their pockets with an extra £11,000 (9.5%) a year, a slightly larger pay rise than their NQ colleagues in percentage terms. Their 2016 salary will now be £126,000. Senior associates (those 6.5 years post qualification) have enjoyed the lowest percentage hike. They will now earn £156,000, a figure up £10,000 (6.8%) from 2015’s £146,000 annual rate.

On the face of it, this is a pretty generous salary boost from the senior staff at Shearman & Sterling. It certainly dwarfs the 2% pay rise announced by Slaughter and May earlier this month.

But in terms of comparison with other US-based outfits — who pay notoriously good money but expect their staff to really put in the hours to earn it — the salary increases haven’t quite reached the eye-watering six-figure sum heights of its US rivals. NQ pay at Sullivan & Cromwell, Latham & Watkins and Kirkland & Ellis, to name a few, all surpass the £100,000 mark.

That said, the pay rise has put even more distance between Shearman & Sterling and the magic circle. Both its previous and current annual salary offerings tower above the likes of Clifford Chance and Linklaters, who pay £70,000 and £81,000 to their new lawyers respectively. Shearman & Sterling NQ pay is a whole £10,000 more than at Freshfields, the highest paying magic circle outfit.

Following today’s news, the New York-headquartered global firm’s NQ solicitors will now be the tenth best paid on Legal Cheek’s Firms Most List. Shearman & Sterling has leapfrogged its closest comparator, White & Case, who pay £90,000.