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White & Case boosts London NQ pay packets by 17% to £105,000

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Trainees will trouser an extra £2,000

New York-based megafirm White & Case has upped the pay packets of its London-based newly qualified (NQ) lawyers to £105,000.

With junior lawyers until today earning £90,000, this salary boost equates to a rise of £15,000 or 17%. Legal Cheek’s 2017 Most List shows that White & Case’s NQs are now on earning par with their counterparts at Shearman & Sterling (which announced similar rises last week) and £3,500 ahead of junior lawyers at US outfit Sullivan and Cromwell (£101,500). Sitting just above White & Case is fellow New Yorker Davis Polk & Wardwell, which pays its London NQs £112,500.

White & Case’s trainees have also had extra cash chucked their way. Those in the first year of their training contract will now walk away with £46,000, up from £44,000, while those a year ahead will take home £50,000, up from £48,000.

Further up the ladder, associates with one-year post qualification experience (PQE) will see their pay packets rise from £95,000 to £110,000, while associates with two years PQE will now earn £120,000, up from £101,000. Salaries for lawyers three to nine years PQE are “discretionary”.

Commenting on today’s pay boosts, a spokesperson for White & Case said:

Student debt, increasing inflation and the high cost of living in London make competitive remuneration key for the brightest young lawyers in considering their career options. In this environment, and following discussions with partners and feedback from our London employee committee, White & Case has significantly increased its legal salary grid for 2017 in London, including an increase for our trainees. The increase in the legal salary grid is a positive change which also reflects the strong performance of the firm globally and of our people in London.

The firm, which offers around 50 London-based training contracts each year, was a solid performer in Legal Cheek’s 2016 Trainee & Junior Lawyer Survey. Notching up an A* for its international secondment opportunities, White & Case bagged As for training, quality of work, perks and social life.

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78 Comments

Anonymous

Come on MC let’s go.

(28)(5)

Anonymous

The MC used to pay more than W&C at the 2/3 PQE mark – hopefully they raise salaries to retain the status quo!

(6)(7)

Anonymous

Eh? No they didn’t…

(11)(0)

Jeremy Corbyn

Sick. Vote Labour.

(8)(8)

Anonymous

As long as they still get people in droves applying, I doubt they will change their tune much.

(5)(2)

Anonymous

But if even one goes to 100k, or close, it changes everything

(12)(0)

Anonymous

Will the MC actually raise salaries £15k+?

(2)(5)

W&C trainee

Whoop! About time

(6)(2)

Rupert; a US firm trainee.

Fantastic news.

“Student debt, increasing inflation and the high cost of living in London make competitive remuneration key for the brightest young lawyers in considering their career options. In this environment, and following discussions with partners and feedback from our London employee committee, White & Case has significantly increased its legal salary grid for 2017 in London, including an increase for our trainees. The increase in the legal salary grid is a positive change which also reflects the strong performance of the firm globally and of our people in London.”

Student debt, housing & living costs in London, and top compensation for top talent. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the correct way of thinking about setting salaries. Cutting through the waffle – top talent is interested in, and will go for, top dolla. W&C understand that its either them who will pay such good compensation to their NQ, or somebody else will.

(46)(3)

Anonymous

Dolla dolla dolla, lad lad lad

(11)(0)

Anonymous

They all understand it, they just don’t say it. White & Case’s frankness is refreshing.

(12)(2)

Anonymous

Yeah, none of that corporate mental masturbation about culture, collegiality and team work spirit. Straight to the point.

(10)(0)

W&C Associate

Actually that was all mentioned in the next paragraph of the announcement email…

(21)(0)

future W&C trainee

this will ease the pain of the LPC exams

(11)(1)

Anonymous

If you are worried about the LPC exams you’ll be in for a shock when life in the real world starts.

(13)(4)

US 1PQE, typing this in a toilet cubicle, hiding from his supervisor

A thousand times this.

You’ll wish you were having the ‘pains’ of LPC exams once you experience the sheer beasting at W&C.

(17)(0)

Anonymous

Even if they’re not hard, they’re still painful. Dragging yourself over to the Excel for three hours of absolute bollocks is hardly a nice day out.

(8)(0)

Anonymous

Believe me, life as a trainee will make you wish you lived at Excel.

(1)(1)

Anonymous

I’m an associate so I’ve lived it. Would still take redoing my TC over living at the Excel…

(1)(0)

Anonymous

I think SullCrom have actually put theirs up from £101k, they just havent publicised it. I heard it’s around the Latham/Skadden level.

(8)(1)

Anonymous

I think they pay NY rates in London so it definitely will be.

(7)(0)

Anonymous

Still no wage increases from the SC,embarrassing.

(3)(2)

Anonymous

What about Simmons & Simmons? We’re essentially the Silver Circle too.

(4)(6)

Anonymous

I don’ think they are, I am afraid.

(13)(2)

Anonymous

SC NQ wages are now miles behind US firms.

(13)(0)

Anonymous

SC paying the same as Reed Smith!!!!!!

(8)(2)

Anonymous

What about global firms like Dentons, CMS, DLA etc.?

(16)(3)

Anonymous

*farts*

(13)(2)

Anonymous

Just another example how globalisation makes one poorer, considering salaries at these “global” firms.

(3)(0)

Anonymous

Come on Irwin Mitchell, time to boost NQ pay to THREE packets of ready salted peanuts!

(10)(0)

Articled Clerk, from 1989

These numbers are surely a mistake. I have just completed my articles at top city firm, Ashurst Morris Crisp. I am taking home £16,850 at the moment (going up to £19,100 after a year). Henry at Clifford Turner is already on £21,500, but even that’s considered an anomaly amongst those in my CPE year group.

Also, why is there no option to insert a DX number on here? What is email?

(33)(0)

Anonymous

This is rather entertaining. More of this please.

(3)(0)

Anonymous

How much was a three-bedroom house off De Beauvoir Square in Hoxton back in those day, please tell?

I’m guessing somewhere between 50-75k. You’d get a ‘gidge back in those days no problem.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Hopefully some of the other US firms, like Mayer Brown, Jones Day, Baker & McKenzie up their NQ’s soon…

(19)(0)

Anonymous

No chance at MB.

(0)(5)

Anonymous

MB is essentially a british firm slapped on with a US brand.

so no chance.

(4)(4)

Articled Clerk, from 1989

Hoxton? Why would anyone want to live there?

I think you underestimate the aspiration of young City professionals these days.

As it happens, I recently completed on a semi-detached house in Ruislip (and that mortgage was based on my salary during articles).

(2)(0)

Anonymous

This is too good

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Surely Dentons, DLA etc. and the other magic circle-tier firms will need to up as well?

(7)(3)

Anonymous

No signs of that yet.What month are wage increases usually announced?

(3)(0)

Anonymous

Usually June for the MC; a little way after the April year ends.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

DLA and MC should not be in the same sentence

(8)(6)

6+ PQE Silver Circle

I am not saying that DLA is on the same level as the MC, but it shouldn’t be under-estimated and it has certainly passed the likes of Addleshaws, Eversheds and so on, which were its peers when I qualified in the shadow of the financial crisis. Market rep is behind DLA’s financials, quality of work and ambition these days. I’d rather be at DLA than Ashurst or BLP these days — as least DLA has a good future.

(6)(0)

Anonymous

Deluded.

(4)(9)

Anonymous

How is this deluded?

(3)(0)

Anonymous

maybe DLA looked to be promising back in the 2000s…now? wannabes. real wannabes.

(1)(3)

JP Morgan VP

Pfff wouldn’t get out of bed for 105k

(7)(2)

Anonymous

“Student debt, increasing inflation and the high cost of living in London make competitive remuneration key for the brightest young lawyers in considering their career options. In this environment, and following discussions with partners and feedback from our London employee committee, White & Case has significantly increased its legal salary grid for 2017 in London, including an increase for our trainees.”

An eminently sensible statement which shows the firm’s partners are living in the real world. London is enormously expensive and rent is exorbitant. Re trainee salary, I would add it’s not just about attracting top talent, it’s about retaining talent into NQ positions and beyond. Trainees get beasted and have to do a huge amount of grunt work. That’s fine – everyone knows this, it’s necessary work and it’s to some extent part of the learning curve. But doing the job without comp keeping pace with inflation and London prices is incredibly demotivating. If you want motivated trainees who enjoy their jobs behind closed doors and not straining superficial smiles to your face, you’ve got to pay them competitively, and consciously or subconsciously their trainee experience affects their holistic experience of the firm as an associate.

(10)(0)

Anonymous

This is right on the money, no pun intended.

(4)(0)

Anonymous

Laughing Circle Firms: DLA; Dentons; CMS; Baker & McKenzie

(9)(8)

Anonymous

There has been no SC wage increases for over a year.

(0)(0)

Newco

In this market, SC firms like Ashurst and BLP are fighting for their lives and you still expect them to raise salaries?

(6)(0)

Anonymous

Not sure,the PEP at a couple of SC firms is huge but NQ wages remain very poor.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

White & Case is probably now the best firm to train at: the combination of size, pay and high-quality work is unbeatable.

(8)(8)

Anonymous

lol

(4)(1)

Anonymous

Agreed. Added with the guaranteed international secondment – the magic circle are our “poorer cousins”

(11)(6)

Anonymous

Hahaha

(1)(0)
(1)(3)

Anonymous

Clearly didn’t take the recent W&C salary increases into account. Plus its the number 1 US law firm by revenue and is far better for international opportunities. Sorry, I Have to agree with the other two on this one W&C > Latham.

(4)(5)

Anonymous

Latham revenue and associate’s pay is higher than W&C. Guaranteed secondments don’t make up for the two. Plus Latham take on 20-24 trainees a year so it’s not exactly hard to get an international secondment.

(4)(3)

Anonymous

As a trainee or a junior associate, why would you care about global revenue? Aren’t DLA second in the revenue table? Says nothing.

London revenue has (slightly) more meaning as it tells you about how full-service / successful the firm is in the office you will be training in.

Salary is by far the biggest differentiator here, but query whether the expectations of the junior lawyers differ. Perhaps they don’t.

(3)(2)

Anonymous

See above re training experience (i.e. relative ease of getting international secondment esp since W&C like to highlight they have guaranteed secondments) and higher associate pay than W&C. Global revenue is a plus i.e. they are very profitable, as is a higher PEP for down the line. Firm prestige is also higher than W&C (Chambers rankings, Vault and The Lawyer).

(3)(5)

Anonymous

DLA isn’t exactly Latham. DLA has the revenue but not the prestige, high NQ pay, high PEP or top band chamber and vault rankings.

(3)(4)

Anonymous

Also Latham PEP US$3m vs W&C US$2m.

(1)(1)

Anonymous

Also prestige etc does matter and W&C lags big US firms as it does the MC, by some gap

(4)(6)

Anonymous

Totally. DLA PIper > White & Case

(3)(7)

Anonymous

White & Case are hugely prestigious in terms of current reputation: it is about where firms are going, not their past. I’m sure your Macfarlanes/Travers Smith TC was a good consolation prize though.

(8)(2)

Anonymous

That’s changing very quickly. W&C are even starting to compete with the MC for public M&A and ECM, which would have been unthinkable five years ago.

(7)(0)

Anonymous

Cool story bro. needs more dragons and shit

(3)(2)

Associate

W&C are nowhere the level of the MC in London, that’s not the debate here

(0)(2)

Anonymous

DLA Piper clearly outranks White & Case on both Chambers and Partners and Legal 500. W&C seem to love a good circlejerk but they’re not cutting the mustard at the moment, that’s for sure.

(4)(3)

Anonymous

About time someone called out these delusional W&C intellectual pygmies.

(4)(3)

Anonymous

Yup I’ll choose the DLA TC even if they pay £40-50k less than Latham, W&C. Nothing beats full british training 😉

(2)(6)

Anonymous

Funniest thing I read all day.

(3)(0)

City trainee

Why am I not at a US firm?

(3)(0)

Anonymous

Maybe you should have worked a bit harder at Uni?

(1)(2)

Anonymous

Utter horsec*ck. Just jump ship after qualifying if you really have to. Bagging a TC at any of the major City firms is a game of luck.

(7)(1)

Anonymous

Unfortunate but true – may the odds be ever in your favour.

(0)(1)

Comments are closed.