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Kirkland & Ellis London NQ dollar-pegged pay packets swell to over £140,000 as pound hits 31 year low

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Brexit fears cause pound to tank

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Kirkland & Ellis’ London-based newly qualified (NQ) lawyers will be cracking open the champagne today, after the plummeting value of the pound caused their dollar-pegged salaries to rocket to an astonishing £140,000.

Up from a June figure of around £124,000 this marks an increase of 13%.

With Brexit fears continuing to affect the markets it emerged today that sterling had hit a new 31-year low against the dollar. This means — in simple terms — Kirkland’s young legal talent are now earning obscene levels of cash.

Earlier this summer MoneyLaw mania swept across the US. New York-headquartered giant Cravath, Swaine & Moore upped its junior lawyer pay from $160,000 (£110,000) to $180,000 (£124,000). With a host of US firms following Cravath’s lead, a select few — including Kirkland — chucked the same pay increases at their London lawyers. But, and this is the crucial point, only Kirkland pegged its increase against the dollar.

So back to today: thanks to a tanking pound, Kirkland’s fresh-faced associates are cashing in. According to the latest conversion rate ($1.2 to the pound) an NQ at the firm — which offers around 10 London-based training contracts annually — will now walk away with in excess of £140,000. Seems as if Brexit is alright for some.

Kirkland & Ellis declined to comment.

53 Comments

Mercedes C180 Sport (Because insurance is too high for a C350)

Meanwhile, Addleshaw still has to confirm its salary increases.

Well done Kirkland people!

(6)(1)

Aspiring Human Rights Barrister

That’s unbelievable, I’m not even mad.

(9)(0)

nomad

your 20’s are worth so much more than being a corporate slave for £140,000 a year.

the way the money has ramped up in the U.S firms is quite sad. see so many people at about 28-35 year old stage who regret the decisions they made. specialised in an area they hate, working for an employer they don’t like, spending money they aren’t particularly proud they earnt, to live a life that isn’t really all it was meant to be.

i’m not against anyone pursuing corporate law as a career at all. but i think people see the money, the status, the prestige and they forget about real life.

(24)(15)

Anonymous

Do it for a few years, buy a property, get some decent savings together – then move on?

(14)(2)

Anonymous

after tax, rent, general expenses, etc. how long do you think it will take to have enough money to buy a property ? especially in london, where a average house starts at £500k ?
you’re looking at at least 10 years, if you work really hard. this is not necessarily because corporate law pays bad, but because buying a property is just so hard for everyone now.

140k a year would work out as about 80k in the bank. rent in london, 20-25k, tube, 1k, socialising, 2k (not for me, the life), food and coffee, 1k, holidays (which you will need), 2k. that is not even on the extravagant side of spending. people in that environment quickly pick up very expensive habits. the designer clothes outlets just become more and more niche. very quickly, 140k has become 50k. And working for 10 years at the intensity a U.S firm demands, to pocket 500k ? There is no way on earth that is worth it.

furthermore, where are you going to move on ? you’re so specialised, that really you’ll be doing the same dull corporate forever. just in-house, where the hours and work is a bit more relaxed, and the pay is still very nice.

(12)(10)

nomad

above post was me again btw (nomad)

(2)(2)

Anonymous

Can surely rent for less than 20-25 – just flat-share until 30ish.

Your post also seems to assume buying mortgage-free?

(5)(0)

nomad

20-25k is on the expensive side, of course. but £350 a week on rent for someone on 140k a year is very normal. plus bills, that goes easily to about 20k+. by the time people are making £140k a year, they don’t really want to save £100 a week on rent. it’s just human nature.

as assuming buying mortgage free, of course that is assumed, if the idea is to buy a property and move on. because either you buy outright, and move on, doing whatever you want. or you finance it with a mortgage, and you can’t really move on because you have to keep up mortgage payments.

(1)(3)

Anonymous

Can just live in a flat-share and pay <£1000 pcm all in.

Can take out a 'small' sustainable mortgage.

(2)(1)

Anonymous

Your reasoning is flawed by the rather weird assumption that someone operating at the top end of the corporate/finance world cannot move on to another job which also pays money for any mortgage / lifestyle expenses…

(7)(1)

Lydia

This is such a load of horsecock.

Please just shut up ‘nomad’, you’re embarrassing yourself.

(7)(2)

Anonymous

You’re also assuming that they’d continue to earn the same amount for ten years.

It’s hella worth it.

Tyrion

He’s also assuming average property in London is 500k, yet in zone you can buy nice one bed flats for about 300k for 600 sq ft plus. Also assuming that all those working in London are renting and not living at home, even if it means getting the train in from Watford or Brighton for a few years. Also assuming that people spend 2k on holidays when most young hardworking people I know saving up for a flat don’t fly off on fancy holidays, I certainly didn’t. I know guys who are not bright and work in IT or Sales that bought a place after 6-7 years saving, albeit they lived at home. Save, make sacrifices and you too can buy eventually.

Anonymous

Except you have payrises every year so it wouldn’t be 10 years now would it? Let’s say 7-8 years. How many people in their early to mid-30s have paid off the mortgage on their London house at that point?

(3)(0)

Anonymous

Your calculation is so dim-witted that I can’t even bring myself to point out all the flaws in it.

(3)(0)

Bumbylbee

Very true nomad. And the various “rear endings” you’d have to get to gain promotion.

It is risky business.

(9)(0)

Slaughter and Gay

I lyke real ends.

(6)(1)

Anonymous

Any word on if other US firms have upped salaries?

(3)(0)

Anonymous

Those that LegalCheek haven’t written an article about that that is

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Skadden £118k and Debevoise £113k

(3)(0)

Anonymous

Paul Hastings? Arnold? Covington? Fried Frank?

(1)(0)

Junior lawyer

Who are Fried Frank?

(4)(3)

Nous

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, an elite NY-headquartered firm.

Read and learn, son.

(4)(1)

Anonymous

How do you know this?

(2)(0)

Anonymous

Lex100, son.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Surprised to see some US firms not upping at all.

(0)(0)

Lyle of the Catch

Cool Nomad. You can actually spoke proper England and seem to know something .

I find it hard to believe any employer would give a green horn £140k from the get go. There has to be a catch.

I had free accommodation and body guards which went with my job and I actually earned my money.

What’s the catch Nomad?

(3)(1)

Anonymous

lol at comments like Nomad’s. Someone, I guess, whose idea of freeeome is the 5pm – 10pm free you’d have every weekday for working at a firm who pays less than half of Kirkland’s salary. Yes, Kirkland lawyers may have fewer social events they can attend on weekdays, but who does things on weekday nights anyway?

If the idea of working 9-5 and worrying about money is your idea of a great 20s then go for it.

People hating on highly paid lawyers for having no life really grinds my gears. The majority of weekends are free, and with the significant freedom to do whatever you please with them due to the higher salaries.

Don’t try and put people who have worked really hard to get where they are down. Doesn’t come off well. You just sound bitter.

(17)(2)

nomad

Don’t really care what you think about the Prime Minister, but a Kirland NQ is now earning 140,000 a year, the same salary as Theresa May. Salaries at U.S firms are so inflated they are ridiculous. All you are doing to earn that money is being a wheel in a cog.

I am sorry if I sound bitter. I am not at all. I just think it’s sad that so many people will give away there best years for a career that really, won’t last. These firms are deal machines. There business model is reliant on junior lawyers who burn out after 5 years. And when you quit, the money won’t look that great.

(3)(17)

Anonymous

So, oh enlightened one, what exactly *should* people be doing with their best years?

Working 9-5 in a retail store so that they have the time to blow their full paycheck getting hammered every night?

(12)(1)

False

Dichotomy

(0)(0)

Master Yodel

The intelligence is weak with this one, I fear.

(4)(3)

Anonymous

Nomad – you assume the life is unsustainable. I can guarantee you it is not. US firms aren’t the sweat shops that your MC/SC employers have been fooling you about. We work same or maybe a bit more (and in the latter case, for significant dosh that makes it worth it). I don’t see MC/SC lawyers “burning out” after 5 years – ditto US firm associates.

(5)(0)

Anonymous

If you are buying GBP with USD you won’t get £1 for $1.20, you’re more likely to pay $1.35-1.40.

So… I think the maths doesn’t work on this story.

(1)(3)

Anonymous

Maths also doesn’t work as their annual salary isn’t determined by the best exhange rate available that year.

Salaries are monthly, it depends entirely on the contract with the firm. They may determine the monthly proportion of the salary afresh each month (I.e. Pay the $180/12*exchange rate of that month) or they may fix the salary on the exchange rate at the start of the business year. Either way, it’s not 140k per annum.

(2)(0)

Anonymous

Linklaters £100k NQ soon?

(3)(5)

Anonymous

lol magic circle.

(4)(0)

Alex's decrepit grandma

Dream on baby.

(4)(0)

Lyle

Do your own research and even then the reality is different to the fantasy and the honey traps

http://www.rollonfriday.com/InsideInfo/UKCityFirms/tabid/68/Default.aspx

(1)(0)

Anonymous

That table is woefully outdated.

(11)(0)

Anonymous

I’d really like to hear from someone who actually works for this/ a similar firm.

Is it really as bad as some suggest – working until late every evening, many weekends, psychopathic partners etc?

Surely some must enjoy working with with a group of intelligent, like minded people, in a similar position to them, earning very good money…?

(1)(0)

US Trainee

The vast majority of LC readers are never going to work for a firm such as Kirkland or Cravath etc.

The majority of highly critical comments directed towards these types of firm are therefore likely to be from people who have no actual evidence to back up their claim, but would like to throw a few stones at something which is personally unobtainable anyway (mob mentality).

So I would take it all with a pinch of salt really. Just look at the hard facts; if you’re remunerated much better than everyone else in the industry, you are going to have to either be better than everyone else or work harder than everyone else (probably both).

You’re not, as some always try to claim, going to have to sell your arm, 7 pints of blood and your soul for eternity.

(16)(0)

Anonymous

Cravath in London seems to be full of US secondees anyway.

(0)(2)

Nous

Correct, Cravath’s London office at CityPoint is effectively an extended arm of the NYC HQ, and is populated overwhelmingly by US-qualified lawyers.

A fairly poor example from ‘US Trainee”.

(2)(2)

US Trainee

I was using the example as firms of similar standing, not really interested in their UK office structure.

Infer whatever you want…

(3)(1)

When I grow up I want to be a trainee at Irwin Mitchell

Nah, Kirklands ain’t the same as Cravath, at least not in the US, but they’re very close behind.

(0)(0)

Nail on Head

US Trainee has hit the nail on the head.

(3)(0)

Anonymous

Last night I dreamt a friend of mine at Kirkland
Caught me skulking in the Gherkin
in the night.
He said: “what is it that you seem to find so irksome
And who the bloody hell let you inside?”
I said “the voucher scheme just doesn’t nearly cut it
All talk of culture’s just recruitment puff
The sandwiches at meetings taste like dog shit
The promise of a pay review’s a bluff.
The partners that remain bemoan their takings
Their shirts are all short-sleeved or single-cuff
They say:
“We’re sweating in a hell of our own making
I’m lining up my clients then I’m off”.

“The gossip among staff is frankly morbid
The prospects at this firm are looking bleak
And all that I can really do about it
Is sit here posting shit on Legal Cheek.”

Within my dream my friend then leapt
Aboard a forklift truck.
Deep red and stacked with cash, it revved,
And started backing up.
“Good luck!” my old companion cried
“in your squalid little firm!
I make three times as much as you
With bonus yet to burn!”

With that he drove off waving gladly
Leaving me stood rather sadly
For our pay contrasted madly
At opposite extremes.
My fantasies of BigLaw dosh
derided;
No ticket for the gravy train
it seems.
All lofty aspirations
relegated –
To dreams
within a dream
within a dream…

(35)(1)

Anonymous

This is glorious banter.

(12)(0)

Anonymous

Genuinely masterful command of meter and rhyming forms, would read again and place in syllabus, 11/10

(14)(0)

Pongobulb

I have a poem too:

There are some poor beggars that are employed in a cowshed
called Irwin Mitchell
Those who are able to get a job elsewhere do it quickly
They would even work at Addleshaw given the choice
But for them such choices are rare
Because Irwin Mitchell is a pile of batpoop

(That’s it)

(6)(10)

Top kek

Masterful, 10 banta points outta 10.

(3)(5)

Umbongo the Third

MEGA lol!

(0)(0)

Comments are closed.