US outfit Cadwalader ups London NQ pay to coveted £124,000 level

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By Thomas Connelly on

New York stalwart jumps aboard the “MoneyLaw” bandwagon


Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft is yet another US outfit to join the MoneyLaw movement, upping pay packets of its junior lawyers to an eye watering £124,000.

Established in 1792, making it one of the oldest law firms there, Cadwalader revealed yesterday that it would match what is now being dubbed the “Cravath pay scale”.

Last week, fellow New York law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore hiked its new starter salary from $160,000 (£110,000) to $180,000 (£124,000), triggering a number of firms across the country to do the same. This resulted in the US media coining the expression “MoneyLaw”.

A handful of US firms with offices this side of the pond such as Akin Gump, Kirkland & Ellis, Latham & Watkins, Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy, Davis Polk and Simpson Thacher, have decided to share the wealth and chuck the same pay increase at their City-based newly qualified (NQ) lawyers.

Joining this list, Cadwalader lawyers received the good news via email overnight.

Above the Law
Above the Law

Interestingly, Cadwalader — who until recently offered around six London-based training contracts annually — gave the new salaries, unlike other firms, in both dollars and pound sterling. Are they concerned about an upcoming EU referendum and a fluctuating pound perhaps?

Even members of the magic circle have started flashing the cash.

Both Freshfields and Clifford Chance have matched the new Cravath pay scale, with lawyers in their US offices pocketing a cool £124,000 a year. Unfortunately for their newbies in London they will have to scrape by on their £85,000.

US MoneyLaw-mania is sweeping the City. How long before UK firms follow?