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

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But trainees have had their pay frozen

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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.

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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.

44 Comments

James William Freshfield

Hahaha….

(11)(6)

Anonymous

Given their bonus, this doesn’t seem too bad

(14)(5)

Anonymous

“Doesn’t seem too bad” will not quite satisfy Slaughters’ people, who have now spent a long time languishing at the rump end of the MC at ALL levels.

(9)(3)

Anonymous

“At all levels” – I imagine the partners really feel like the rump taking home £1 mil more than the rest of the MC

(6)(4)

Anonymous

You clearly don’t understand how law firms work 🙂

(0)(3)

Anonymous

Whereas you clearly do, dicksplash.

(2)(1)

Tez

Some perspective is needed here. For 24 year olds to be taking home nearly 3 times the average wage is a bit silly. (That’s not to say the partners aren’t being greedy)

(6)(32)

anon

23 year old footballers take these figures home in a week.

(21)(0)

Anonymous

Lol. I’ve always wondered why people are so keen for the label of 24 year old earning xyz. Does it then make a difference if it’s a 29 NQ earning 78k? NQs vary in each, with anything from 24-30 being quite common.

Makes far more sense to just see it as someone who is two years into their career.

(16)(1)

Anonymous

Good braining. Don’t even know where to begin with that one.

(1)(4)

Anonymous

It’s true that there are NQs of all ages, and that they are equals in terms of experience.

But I think the point is simply that the younger you are, the more remarkable a high salary is.

(5)(0)

Anonymous

Can we have a fun Christmassy article please?

Thank you

(5)(2)

Anonymous

Or one about Briana doing a vacs scheme at Jones Day?

(6)(1)

Chazza, 2PQE

Oh I’d luv me some of dat!

(0)(0)

Anonymous

In b4 Linklaters up their pay to £78,001 just so as to not be at the bottom of the table.

(4)(0)

Anonymous

Linklaters partners are mostly Arsenal fans, so wouldnt be surprised.

(5)(0)

Anonymous

If you add on their bonus, the difference to A&O and CC is minimal

(12)(5)

Anonymous

Yeah if you include a 9% bonus on top of the £78,000 I struggle to see why this pay increase is being mocked? NQS will take home £85,000.

This is literally in line with the rest of the MC. Just because they haven’t included the bonus in the total salary to pad it out doesn’t mean it isn’t a very welcome increase.

(22)(7)

Anonymous

30 days hols? NICE. That’ worth another few k on salary too.

(27)(0)

Anonymous

When will the SC increase wages?

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Who is actually in the “SC” anymore? Herbies, Ashurst, Macfarlanes, Travers?

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Well, back in the day c. 2009, the SC consisted of BLP, SJ Berwin, Herbert Smith, Ashurst, Macfarlanes and Travers Smith. Some used to say Simmons and Lovells belonged there too.

Since then SJB became KWM and totally imploded (LOL), BLP started plopping in mediocrity and Assbursts are experiencing problems which could make them KWM v.2 if they don’t stem departures and low billings.

So yeah, the only ‘true’ SC firms at the moment are HSF (who merged with Aussie shop Freehills in 2012), Macs and TC.

All three are very good firms.

(4)(1)

Anonymous

*TS

(2)(1)

Anonymous

Fletchers are better than every other MC firm.

(1)(0)

Andy Leatherz

Stfu, DWF are easily the best shop in the City.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Excellent impartial article that has fully considered all facts and figures.

(5)(7)

Anonymous

So will the remaining three SC firms increase wages?

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Not likely, at least not above their direct competitors. At the moment all SC/international firms are on the £70-72k mark (except for HSF but that’s a different story).

Now that KWM imploded in such a spectacularly embarrassing, public manner, shops like Ashurst and BLP will be very careful with their bottom lines. Macs and TS might pop an extra 3-5% raise to get them to £75k.

Ultimately, one has to view the entire City market as something of a big cake: the MC are in their own tranche, as are top US shops (like Akin or Skadden), the SC/internationals, the mid-tiers (think Pinsents, the Shed, AG), and the pits (DWF, IM, etc).

Shops will only try to remain competitive in line with the pay common for firms within their ‘tranche’. Since they don’t compete with higher paying shops, they don’t need to up salaries dramatically, and only adjust incrementally.

That’s why a shop like Pinsents doesn’t pay their NQs £80k – at the moment they simply don’t need to.

(5)(1)

Anonymous

Why are HSF paying £82 NQ then?

(1)(3)

Anonymous

Re-read my comment: “(except for HSF, but that’s a different story).”

This was meant to signify that HSF do indeed pay substantially more (with certain performance-based caveats) than other SC firms, as you have pointed out.

🖕🏻

(3)(0)

Anonymous

Macs pay NQs a 15% bonus on top of salary.

(5)(0)

Anonymous

Interesting.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

The article seems a bit hard on Slaughters. They haven’t rolled in a bonus or tried to fudge the figure by giving a ‘median amount for strong performers’, which is to their credit. Looks like they’re on par with the rest when you consider bonuses will be added. Was it not Slaughters who were the first MC firm to hit £70k at NQ level a couple of years ago too?

(12)(4)
(2)(5)

Anonymous

… and not at all influenced by Slaughters’ sponsorship of Lawyer2B

(5)(2)

Anonymous

You could say the same about LC’s coverage of KWM’s humiliating failure. They grease Alex so he speaks well of them, the skidmark.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

9k – SO GENEROUS

(0)(1)

mc trainee

You can tell those in S&M must be worried that they’re getting a rep for being tight – the amount of repeat HR/trainee posts on here are huge.

(6)(4)

Anonymous

Lol, you’re an ‘mc trainee’ eh? 💩

(2)(1)

Anonymous

Isn’t that a trainee chip fryer?

(0)(0)

(an unconcerned) Slaughter and Gay 4th seater

Another example of the correlation between the tone of a Legal Cheek article and the sponsorship Legal Cheek receive from said firm.

Slaughter and May, Linklaters and A&O associates, post bonus, are going to walk away with more than those with bonuses factored in. £78k plus bonus at 25, is that really “not so magical”?

(7)(7)

Anonymous

Hi Slaughter and May managing partner’s mum

(6)(3)

S&M HR assistant

Bore off mullet.

(3)(0)

Anonymous

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

(1)(1)

Comments are closed.