Brexit Shmexit: King & Wood Mallesons ups newly qualified pay packets to £70,000

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Exclusive: Rumours also circulate that Macfarlanes has joined KWM in waving two fingers at Brexit by boosting junior lawyer salaries


King & Wood Mallesons (KWM), remaining resolute about London’s future as a global legal hub, has chucked extra cash at its legal talent, upping newly qualified (NQ) pay packets to £70,000.

KWM — which offers around 30 training contracts annually — has upped the salaries of its London-based fresh-faced associates by £6,000, equating to a rise of just over 9%. Until today NQs at the firm were pocketing £64,000.

Trainee salaries — which currently stand at £40,000 in year one, rising to £44,000 in year two — remain unchanged. Check out the Legal Cheek Firms Most List for all the latest pay comparisons.

Elsewhere in the City, single-office outfit Macfarlanes has — if rumours are to be believed — also dished out pay increases for its junior lawyers.

Legal Cheek understands that NQ salaries have been bumped from £70,000 to £71,000, translating into a modest increase of £1,000 or around 1%. However, Macfarlanes — which offers 30 training contracts each year — has apparently provided chunkier pay increases for their more senior lawyers.

Associates with one year post-qualification experience (PQE) will walk away with as much as £79,000, up from £75,000. Two PQE could pocket up to £88,000, up from £81,500, and those with three PQE under their belts could take home £98,000. Legal Cheek — which has contacted the firm for clarification — understands these new salary figures do not include performance-related bonuses, which will be added on top.

KWM and Macfarlanes become only second and third City outfits to unveil post-Brexit pay rises.

Earlier this week NQ solicitors at Herbert Smith Freehills were handed an improved remuneration package. Factoring in a performance-related bonus the freshly-minted lawyers at Herbies could pocket as much as £90,000 a year.

The global giant’s first and second year trainees also shared in the good times. Those in year one of their training will now walk away with £44,000, up from £42,000 — an increase of almost 5%. Meanwhile those a year ahead will now pocket £48,000, up from £46,000 — an increase of just over 4%.

Brexit shmexit.

UPDATE: (2.30pm)

Macfarlanes has now confirmed that the figures published by Legal Cheek are accurate.



Are trainee salaries up at Macs?



McDonalds? Yes, £6 per hour now. This is relevant for trainees at MacFarlanes too.






Yes they have increased trainee salaries .



Have a vacation scheme at Macfarlanes would be interested to know if trainee salaries have increased.



You’re a year too late KWM. The gulf between MC and SC salaries has more than doubled this year, so why would anyone chose the likes of KWM over the MC?


Been there

Their offices are kinda nice. They’re full of bloated turbokhunts though.



The figures for Macfarlanes do not include bonuses…



The plural of bonuses is actually boner, fyi.



Surely Macs should at least be matching the magic circle given their massive £1.5 million PEP



Totally agree £1,000 increase is laughable when you consider their PEP is higher than A&O and HSF’s recent NQ increase .



Also those figures are the max of the bands at 1 2 and 3, most will get less



It is a much nicer place to work than some other firms though



If you fit the mould….



What mould would that be?



A blue-blooded toff?

Macs were always Slaughters Lite, or at least tried to be.



Figures do not include bonuses



They’re the maximum that can be awarded and are misrepresentative of the fact that they use bands at each level. Most associates are getting less than those figures.



Nearly 10% salary raises across the board at a firm that’s constantly haemorrhaging partners? There’s hardly anyone decent left in that shop.

That can only end well.



Guess you would say the same about Ashurst then?



No such raises there though.



Still performed so terribly though. Rather be at KWM than Ashurst if international reputation was factored in.

Although I still dream of Slaughters…



Same shit, different shovel my friend.



SC salaries now being left massively behind MC and American firms .


Disgruntled associate

That’s it – either Squire Patton Boggs finally bumps up salaries above it’s pitiful £62k or I’m outta there.

Being a deal monkey for so little just ain’t worth it.



At the end of the day, you’re all moaning about salaries that most 25-30 year olds could only dream of having. It’s a fantastic wage – shut up.



Shut up Bruv – weak argument. People doing the same work in the same profitability firm should be paid equivalent.



Because everyone knows PEP is such an accurate indicator of profitability…



Hear hear, except for the fact that we are not “most of 25-30 year olds” – we are city lawyers. We had to put in an incredible amount of work at uni as well as outside of academia, not to mention that our office hours tend to be ‘slightly’ longer than your average 35/40h week.



Hey guys please don’t slate me to much for this, I know this is probably a really silly question, but I’ve never had this explained to me before.

What exactly does it mean financially to be a private equity partner? And is private equity the only kind of partner there is in a law firm?

I am aware that once you become partner, I think you take on some % of the firm’s shares, I think. But when I hear stories like firm x had PEP profits of £1.3million, does that actually mean that all partners in that firm takes home £1.3 million or something close to this? That’s pretty incredible, considering solicitors with 5 years pqe at the really top firms earn round about 150-200k?

Any help in this would be most grateful. And apologies again I feel like I sound really silly right now.



Please don’t apply to BigLaw, it’s no place for clueless muppets.

Wills, conveyancing and probate at a high street firm is more your speed.



PEP does not mean private equity partner. PEP means profit per equity partner.

If a firm says it has £1.3 million PEP that is an average figure. There will be some partners earning lower and some earning higher than that amount. There are a variety of factors which determine how much a partner gets but ultimately it is based on length of time as a partner and how much money you have brought into the firm.

I would highly recommend carrying out some light reading on LawCareers.Net or Chambers Student to familiarise yourself with the terminology and intricacies of the legal profession.


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