Addleshaw Goddard and Gowling WLG freeze pay as confusion reigns at BLP

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By Thomas Connelly on

Reports of NQs earning more than lawyers with a year’s experience


City firms Addleshaw Goddard and Gowling WLG have both opted to freeze lawyer pay packets, with both outfits citing Brexit as the reason.

Addleshaw Goddard — suffering from a case of the post-Brexit jitters — has opted to “defer” pay increases due to take place this month until “early autumn”.

With the northern powerhouse blaming “impact on activity levels” post-referendum, a spokesperson for Addleshaw told Legal Cheek:

Like many other businesses in the UK we have seen Brexit have an impact on activity levels in the short period since the referendum. As a consequence we have decided to defer decisions on staff salary reviews and partner remuneration (usually scheduled for August) until early autumn, when we will have clarity on anticipated improvements in activity.

Reassuring staff that they will still receive bonuses — and carefully avoiding any mention that profit per equity partner rocketed by 39% to £682,000 over the last financial year — the spokeperson continued:

Regardless of the impact of Brexit we will, as planned, be paying bonuses to staff in September for last year’s strong performance.

But Addleshaw is not alone.

It would appear that Gowling WLG — which formed earlier this year after a tie up between Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co and Canadian outfit Gowlings — has frozen lawyer pay too. Or at least we think it has.

In one of the most carefully worded statements Legal Cheek has come across (whatever you do don’t mention pay freeze), a spokesperson revealed that salary reviews would go ahead, but like Addleshaw, this would take place in the “autumn”.

Gowling WLG did confirm — with more clarity — that bonuses for the year “were paid as usual” and “all planned summer promotions” went ahead as scheduled.

And finally, lets spare a thought for the folk over at Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP).

Having had pay frozen last month due to the “political and financial uncertainty” created by the EU referendum result, the international law firm has now decided to pay its newly qualified (NQ) lawyers more than their counterparts with one year of experience under their belts.

A spokesperson for the firm told Legal Cheek:

We reduced our September NQ offer from £70,000 (offered before the firm took the decision to defer salary reviews for four months) to £66,000. However, to honour the NQ’s total compensation we will provide a one-off payment of £4,000 at the end of the financial year. There is now a potential discrepancy at our junior level on the remuneration packages we have awarded NQs.

Presumably still frantically banging away on a calculator, the spokesperson continued:

However, this is only a potential discrepancy as it depends on the outcome of our imminent salary review process this November. This situation has been discussed and communicated across all affected groups

Glad that’s cleared up then.