NQ pay rises at Linklaters, with top performers set to earn over £90,000

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£1,000 basic salary increase

Linklaters has announced it’s increasing base pay for newly-qualified lawyers (NQs) by a grand, moving it from £77,500 to £78,500. This means top-performing associates at the magic circle firm could earn in excess of £90,000, when basic salary and performance-dependent bonus are combined.

Linklaters’ categorises most of its NQs as either “high performers” or “median performers”. The former typically pull in over £90,000 annually with bonuses, while the latter take home over the £80,000 mark. Given Links’ £1,000 increase, assuming bonuses remain the same, Legal Cheek understands the firm’s NQs will now earn £82,000-£92,000.

Having chatted to a spokesperson for the firm this afternoon, Legal Cheek understands trainee pay remains unchanged (£43,000 in year one; £49,000 in year two). A spokesperson for Linklaters said:

We closely monitor salaries and bonuses to ensure that our reward levels remain extremely competitive. We are committed to maintaining a performance culture and rewarding high performing employees with a bonus system that appropriately recognises their contribution.

The firm — which recently added a rainbow-coloured lighting scheme to its plush City HQ reception in celebration of Pride Month — declined to comment on whether it had upped the pay packets of its more experienced associates.

Linklaters was a strong performer in the Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey. The firm — which offers 110 City training contracts a year — scored A*s and As for eight of the ten categories, including training, social life, office, perks and canteen. Its full scorecard can be viewed here.

The One Silk Street player is not the only firm whose pay has hit the headlines this month. On Friday, Legal Cheek reported magic circle rival Slaughter and May had frozen the pay packets of its London-based lawyers. NQs will therefore continue to earn £78,000, though a Slaughters spokesperson did confirm it intends to keep pay scales “under review”.

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Hmmmm interesting



Can we please get a chance to comment on the sponsored content too?

I bet your corporate paymasters would love to hear from LC’s readers in the comments section!



Oh, wow! A whole grand! This’ll show those pesky US firms! The days of their stealing our most talented recruits are over!



Hold this L.


Slaughters NQ that has been forced to use food banks.




£1,000, that is such a joke.

I am sure the partners spend about that much on a tuna melt at their local Knightsbridge café. Another example about disgraceful greed from partners at what is supposed to be a respectable firm. Surely you opt for no raise over a £1,000 raise? It is like tipping 5 pence when you go out for a steak. It is simply offensive.


Irwin Mitchell Partner

Tip: You don’t need to leave a tip for a steak if you fish it out of the bins behind Aldi, then cook it with a lighter in your shared basement studio flat (and if that steak is beef cat food actually).



Hammer geil bantz.



Do UK firms think applicants are stupid?When the US firms reveal their salaries they announce base salaries and don’t sneakily try to factor in bonuses to appear more impressive.


Every top candidate in the UK ready to sacrifice their social life

You know what, forget about that £150,000 Kirkland offer! I want to work for Linklaters now! Where do I sign?



It may well be that the very top applicants will go to the American firms. But the reality is unless and until the best applicants cease applying to MC firms, or after their TCs leave at NQ, there will be no matching pay rises. If the MC can get away with paying its trainees and NQs less, it will.



But the top applicants don’t go to US firms. They recruit a slightly odd and eclectic bunch. Most law students would take MC over US firms any day. Culture and prestige go a long way.



You’re willing to turn down a 100% raise for “culture and prestige”?


US firm future trainee

“culture and prestige”

Hahaha thank god there are people out there who are so amazingly naive. It makes the competition for trainee and NQ sports a little bit easier.



Sorry but it doesn’t really. If you thought bagging a TC was difficult, think again.

May the odds ever be in your favour.



Haha. Getting an NQ spot is not harder than getting a TC. TC acceptances ratios are probably around 5-10%. Most City firms have upwards of 70% retention ratios.

Stop spreading fake news.


Good luck.


Agreed, that’s my point. Ask any senior partner, or indeed senior partner at an American shop whether they would prefer a London NQ trained at an MC firm or at a top American firm and the answer is obvious.

I suppose the trick is to train MC, then move across at 1PQE.



Prestige goes a long way? Please tell me you’re joking when you think that the likes of A&O, CC, et al are more prestigious than Skadden, Davis Polk, Latham, Kirkland etc. No chance.

Go over to the US and the MC are all but absent, yet here in London the top US firms are akin to the MC.



butt hurt MC stock that now tries to self-justify their life choices



And yes I would be willing to do that. I don’t want to work 14 hour days and face a horrid work culture every day.



How do you make an NQ move from City firm to MC or US?



You don’t. Sorry pal.






Define ‘City firm’ first.

At present, this very much might mean Irwin Mitchell or DWF, but also CMS and Pinsents. Training at the former won’t get you anywhere, the latter might.



Why not DWF? Growing and going global.


Top bantz.


With £59k at NQ? TURBOLOL.


When I said City I meant international City firms with high salaries and large clients. Not Irwin Mitchell, DWF or Gateley.


i.e. Pinsents, Clydes, Eversheds, Holmans etc.


“high salaries and large clients” and “Pinsents, Clydes, Eversheds”.



Well those are some of the largest firms in the UK with the largest clients. They pay a lot more than DWF and DAC Beachcroft. Are you gay?


‘pay a lot more’? You sure about that?


An NQ friend of mine at Linklaters has confirmed that NQ pay is actually closer to £980k

(Factoring in base salary and bonuses rolling until the 7PQE mark)


Aye Carumba

Oh well, that 90k is still more than the highest-earning equity partner at Irwin Mitchell earns.

Although, it is said that Andrew La La Land at DWF spends more than that per month on his Bentley, Footballers’ Wives Cheshire House and also his ego.


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