Akin Gump London office latest to up NQ pay to £127k and beyond

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City lawyers at Washington-based giant beneficiaries of US salary war and Brexit fears


Akin Gump is the latest US law firm to offer an astonishing £127,000 to its newly qualified (NQ) lawyers based in London.

The firm — which hands out around four City-based training contracts annually — has followed the likes of Kirkland & Ellis, Latham & Watkins, Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy, Davis Polk and Simpson Thacher in chucking US pay increases at its London-based NQ cohort.

Fresh faced associates at Akin Gump’s London office — who were already pocketing a cool £100,000 — now walk away with a market busting £127,000, an increase of well over 25%.

Last week, New York-headquartered giant Cravath, Swaine & Moore took it upon themselves to up junior lawyer pay packets from $160,000 (£110,000) to $180,000 (£124,000). And with the pound falling sharply against the dollar this morning amid fears of Brexit this equates today to over £127,000 per annum.


That move sent shockwaves through the US legal market, with many of the top firms forced to follow Cravath’s lead and stump up the cash.

According to Above the Law, magic circle outfits Freshfields and Clifford Chance have increased pay for their US NQs to the new £124,000 plus level. But, as yet, this has not been matched at their offices in the UK (currently at £85,000 — only two thirds of what their American counterparts earn).

Now with half-a-dozen US firms adopting the “Cravath pay scale” at their London-outposts, it would appear a new band of mega-paying white shoe outfits is emerging within the City. Magic circle firms Freshfields and Clifford Chance — having followed Cravath and upping US NQ pay — will now face immense pressure to do the same this side of the pond.

A gesture which would entail whopping, possibly record-breaking, 50% pay rises. Lawsome.



It pays to be a Gimp then.


Suspicious associate

As expected – Weil, Skadden, SullCrom and other ‘matching’ firms are soon to follow.

You oddly fail to mention that your sponsor firm Shearman & Sterling did too raise its salaries in its US offices to the new $180k rate, but this is unlikely to apply to the London outpost.

Did HR give you a warning, Tommy?



“Fresh faced associates at Akin Gump’s London office — who were already pocketing a cool £100,000 — now walk away with a market busting £127,000, an increase of well over 25%.”

Well over 25%? You mean 27%?



Yeah, I loved that


Teacher, Stern

Looks like Tommy didn’t do well in his GCSEs.



how is Brexit relevant?



It’s in the article!

Oh, wait…



Because they are paid on a floating USD FX rate.



Makes SC look stingy


King Wood...Who?

Heh, they are.



Your trainee salaries for Akin Gump are incorrect. Year 1 is 43k and year 2 is 48k.


RoF Rozzee

So are other firms’ salaries.

LC a complete shambles non-shocka.


Mrs Gump

Run Forrest! Run!


Bubba-Gump Shrimp Co.



Gus the Snedger

That’s what happens when you eat seafood that’s gone off!



The question is: Are you ready to drop off your social life in favour of money? On the moment you’ll say yes, but afterwards I guess that everyone will deny this facts until you realise what the fuck you’re living for.

And don’t tell me money or love makes you happy haha.



If you think that MC junior associates are working significantly less than their US counterparts, you’re swallowing the MC marketing hook, line and sinker…



I think a lot of people will put up with it for the duration of their training (I think the MC has the edge here) and then jump ship, be it to SC or US.



Are there any more firms expected to increase? Gotta filter my TC applications.


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