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Jones Day jacks up newly qualified solicitor pay to £85,000

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The firm that Legal Cheek commenters love to hate splashes the cash

pounds-twenty

The London office of US megafirm Jones Day has increased its newly qualified solicitor salary from £78,000 to £85,000 as junior lawyer pay rises continue to sweep the City in spite of Brexit.

Jones Day’s trainees are also getting more money — first years go from £43,000 to £45,000, while second years net an extra two grand too, taking their salary to the £50k mark.

The remuneration boosts will see the Ohio-based firm, which offers 20 training contracts in London annually, move onto the same level for NQ pay as magic circlers Allen & Overy and Freshfields, but below recent big post-Brexit riser Herbert Smith Freehills.

The timing of this announcement is interesting in that it comes days after Jones Day released a disappointing trainee retention rate of just 68%.

Legal Cheek understands that five out of the firm’s 16 autumn qualifiers are leaving. Were they poached by firms offering more money, such as the new group of London MoneyLaw outfits that pay NQs a ridiculous dollar-tied salary of £137,000?

Jones Day used to be seen as quite the place to be for ambitious UK law graduates, with a reputation for high pay and a culture which handed its young plenty of responsibility. A substantial London presence — which dates back to English legacy firm Gouldens, gobbled up by the American giant in 2003 — added to the allure.

But other firms have successfully emulated this model, often with higher salaries, leaving Jones Day less in vogue among students than it once was. These days the firm consistently comes in for some of the harshest criticism meted out to any leading outfit in the Legal Cheek comments. Of course, how much weight it’s wise to give anonymous comments is another matter.

Certainly, it will be interesting to see what affect this significant pay rise has on the firm’s next trainee retention rate when it comes around in spring 2017.