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

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NQs cash in as pound plummets

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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%.

31 Comments

Anonymous

Bubba Gump.

(1)(6)

Anonymous

You wish mate, Akin Gump is a top firm.

(12)(3)

Anonymous

I will shit in your mouth.

(3)(2)

Anonymous

Y u mad bro?

(0)(1)

Anonymous

I bet you’re a baldcel manlet.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

U wot bro?

(1)(0)

Forrest Gump

I’m on the board where ma Daddy put me.

Now I RUN the place!!!

(1)(2)

Bob Johnson, Esq.

Hi Tommy, will there be any article today dealing with the deep crisis King & Wood Mallesons are currently facing in their UK/EU partnership?

RoF already wrote about it – given your track record of copy-pasting most of their articles, I was hoping this one would appear too.

(40)(3)

Tom

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(4)(6)

Bob Johnson, Esq.

Ah I see. Well, I guess gormless puff pieces are far easier to write and losing a trusted sponsor would hurt LC’s balance sheet.

(8)(0)

Ben the Baker

I did a gormless poof piece and it got deleted!

(0)(0)

KWM

That firm is going belly up within 6 months. Thank god I rejected their TC offer.

(4)(1)

LC Team

Please bear in mind that the authors of many Legal Cheek Journal pieces, including Tom, Alex and Katie are at the beginning of their career. We’d be grateful if you could keep your comments constructive, as they might otherwise cry or wet the bed.

(6)(1)

Addleshaw are the best

So basically an associate at Gump will pay more tax than a Partner at DWF would earn.

Mind you, so would a Manager of Starbucks.

(5)(1)

Anonymous

So basically an associate at Gump will pay more tax than a Partner at Irwin Mitchell would earn.

Mind you, so would a Barista at Starbucks.

(2)(2)

Live In Hope

Still waiting for my US firm to increase salaries to the new levels…

(5)(4)

Creaky bum

Your firm cannot pay as less as Squire Patton, surely…

(0)(0)

Live In Hope

No no, it’s a proper US firm.

(1)(13)

Anonymous

Whit & Case.

(0)(0)

Live In Hope

Similar current pay level, but different firm.

(0)(0)

Sniff sniff

Dechert, perchance?

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Similar pay, smaller intake.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Cooley?

Anonymous

White & Case now take 50 trainees pa.

They will bleed eventually, if they move to 120k for NQs.

(6)(0)

CrimBar

Now can anyone tell me what in house criminal counsel of 7 years call should be earning at a specialist crime firm doing mostly Crown Court trials?

No-one seems to want to let slip what they’re earning and I have no idea whether I’m well paid or exploited.

(2)(2)

Lord Harley

You can earn whatever you like if you set up your own firm. No need to worry about those boring accounts either!

(1)(1)

CrimBar

Thanks for the downrate.

I realise that such creatures as I are less than human to commercial types, but if anyone has any constructive answers, I’d be most grateful.

(1)(3)

Anonymous

All criminal lawyers are exploited. Partners at commercial firms get £300k+ for being glorified outsourcing consultants, yet you probably do real law work every day for a fair bit less. At 7-10 years you should be putting in a partnership application. In the meantime, call some legal headhunters like Hays or Chadwick? They’re pretty good at finding appropriate salary levels for your PQE.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

You need to work out how much you are billing per annum. Your salary should be around a third of that

(0)(0)

Anonymous

If that’s the case he/she would be better off in Chambers where you keep what you bill, less 15-20%, surely?

(0)(0)

Proelia

Never mind another look how much newbies are earning, why not do some investigative journalism and look at the north-eastern firm which has repeatedly prepared bills (but has then not delivered them) in order to assuage their bank that they have not breached their banking covenants by overstating their financial position. There is a word for that isn’t there?

(0)(0)

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