Akin Gump’s London-based junior lawyers pocket nearly £150,000 thanks to dollar-pegged salaries

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By Thomas Connelly on

NQs cash in as pound plummets


Akin Gump’s London-based newly qualified (NQ) lawyers have seen salaries swell to an astonishing £146,800 after the firm revealed it was pegging salaries against the dollar.

Earlier this summer, the firm — which offers just four London training contracts annually — handed its fresh-faced associates a pay rise of 25%, taking base salaries to a whopping £127,000.

But the good times are set to continue for Akin Gump’s young freshly-minted lawyers.

Having conducted a pay review of its UK associates and counsel, the firm has revealed it will now base lawyer remuneration according to moving exchange rates, which will be reviewed every quarter. Akin Gump confirmed that lawyers will continue to be paid monthly despite reports to the contrary yesterday.

So what does this all mean for the firm’s London lawyers? In simple terms — thanks to the plummeting value of the pound following the vote to leave the European Union — they are set to earn a shedload of cash.

Having crunched the numbers based on the current exchange rate, an NQ at the firm — who could be as young as 24 — will trouser an almost obscene £146,800.

To provide some context, that’s over double what their counterparts at Slaughter and May earn (£71,500) and — somewhat unbelievably — £26,000 more than a Clifford Chance lawyer (£120,500) with three years post-qualification experience (PQE) under his or her belt.

Akin Gump’s London senior partner, James Roome, told Legal Cheek:

We aim to pay our London associates at the same rate as our associates in the United States. Rather than try to guess what the sterling/dollar exchange rate will be from time to time, we will follow the prevailing exchange rates in converting the US dollar pay scales into sterling.

It’s not just Akin Gump lawyers cashing in on the Brexit vote. Earlier this month it emerged that Kirkland & Ellis’ NQ salaries had rocketed to £140,000, thanks again to the collapsing pound. Junior lawyers — who earned around £124,000 in June — saw pay packets balloon to £140,000, an increase of 13%.