What Brexit? Herbert Smith Freehills boosts pay for newly qualified solicitors to £90,000

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By Thomas Connelly on

Trainee salaries also rise at London office of global giant


Newly qualified (NQ) solicitors at Herbert Smith Freehills could walk away with a remuneration package worth as much as £90,000, in what is just one of a number of pay hikes unveiled by the international giant today.

Herbies — which offers around 70 training contracts annually in London — has confirmed that the “total cash compensation” for a City-based NQ will be upped to £90,000. But the impressive new figure does require careful examination.

Unlike in previous years, the new pay level is not a guaranteed salary. Instead, adopting what appears to be a growing City trend, the firm has opted to lump together an NQ’s basic salary along with their possible bonus. So training contract hunters beware, only “high performing associates” will walk away with this impressive £90,000 figure.

This creates obvious complications when trying to calculate just how much extra cold hard cash fresh-faced associates are receiving.

Previously, basic NQ pay packets at Herbies stood at £69,000. However, factoring in performance bonuses, this old figure rose to as much as £82,000. So today’s pay increase isn’t as huge as it may first appear, really equating to a much more modest boost of £8,000, or 10%, when additional cash sweeteners are factored in.

However, if you take the new £90,000 figure as a single sum, it would leave Herbies’ NQs matching their counterparts over at the London office of big-paying US firm White & Case and putting the magic circle in the shade. Check out the Legal Cheek Firms Most List for all the latest pay comparisons.

Putting NQ pay to one side, Herbies’ trainees have also had extra cash chucked their way.

First year trainees 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%.

Despite the uncertainty swirling around the City of London post-Brexit, Herbies’ lawyers with one, two and three years post-qualification experience (PQE) are also benefiting from the cash windfall.

One PQE associates will now receive a total cash package of £95,000, while those with two and three years PQE will receive £107,000 and £122,000 respectively.