Slaughter and May bumps junior lawyer salaries by 9% to £78,000

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By Thomas Connelly on

But trainees have had their pay frozen


Slaughter and May has finally got round to increasing lawyer pay, upping newly qualified (NQ) salaries to a not so magical £78,000.

The elite magic circle outfit — which offers around 80 London-based training contracts annually — has chucked an extra £6,500 at its fresh faced associates, equating to a boost of just over 9%.

Languishing at the bottom of the magic circle pay table, Slaughter and May’s junior lawyers, until today, pocketed just £71,500 a year. But despite the 9% increase, many of the firm’s hardworking lawyers may be left disappointed with the news.

According to Legal Cheek’s Most List, the pay move puts NQs just £500 better off than their counterparts at Linklaters (£77,500), now the lowest paying magic circle firm. Young associates at Slaughters are paid a whopping £7,000 less than those at Clifford Chance and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, who pocket £85,000 respectively.


And spare a thought for Slaughter and May’s trainees. The firm — which performed poorly in Legal Cheek’s annual law firm survey — revealed pay levels for its lawyers-in-waiting “remain unchanged”. First years will continue to earn £43,000, rising to £48,000 in year two.

Further up the greasy pole, those with one year post qualification experience (PQE) under their belts will see their pay packets rise from £79,000 to £87,000, while those a year ahead will now earn £98,500, up from £90,250. Slaughter and May’s lawyers with three years PQE — breaking the six figure mark — will now take home £108,000. Incredibly, this is still £39,000 less than an NQ at the London office of US titan Akin Gump. The increases will take effect from 1 January 2017.

In an attempt to mitigate the slightly underwhelming pay boosts, Slaughter and May, having undertaken “an extensive internal consultation”, has also announced a number of additional sweeteners.

Lawyers will receive an end of year bonus ranging between 9% and 16% of their annual salary depending on experience. Trainees, paralegals and support staff will be handed a modest 3% bonus in recognition of all their hard work.

As well as receiving 30 days annual holiday leave, associates with at least three years PQE will be able to take advantage of “a four week paid sabbatical”. And leaping aboard the flexi-working bandwagon, the magic circle outfit has also confirmed that its lawyers will “have the opportunity to apply” to work from the comfort of their own homes one day a week.

Richard Clark, Slaughter and May’s executive partner, said:

We have adopted a highly consultative and carefully considered approach to reviewing how we can best recognise and motivate our people. Our objective has been to arrive at a progressive and holistic package that includes remuneration but also supports the cultural values that are most important to all our employees.

Additional perks soon to be rolled out by the firm include an onsite doctor and dental insurance for trainees.

Slaughter and May has confirmed that the annual salary review is expected to take place as normal in May 2017. Perhaps their lawyers will have more luck then.