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Slaughter and May freezes lawyer pay as UK hit by hung parliament uncertainty

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But salaries will remain under review, says elite magic circle outfit

Slaughter and May has frozen the pay packets of its London-based lawyers. The news, which we understand was communicated internally last month, emerges today as the United Kingdom is hit by a wave of uncertainty following a shock hung parliament general election result.

Confirming the elite magic circle firm is pressing pause on pay increases, a spokesperson for Slaughters told Legal Cheek:

Following our annual salary review, our associates will move up to the next level in the firm’s salary scales. Associate salary scales were increased on 1 January 2017 following a major review of employee reward and recognition, and therefore we are not proposing a further change at this time.

Back in December, Slaughters — contrary to industry chatter suggesting game-changing six-figure salaries — announced a series of muted pay increases.

The firm’s fresh-faced associates were chucked an extra £6,500 (up 9% to £78,000), while lawyers with one to three years post qualification experience (PQE) were handed around £8,000 extra. Trainee pay remained unchanged, with first years pocketing £43,000, rising to £48,000 in year two.

Continuing, our Slaughter and May spokesperson said:

It is our intention, however, to keep our scales under review. Our associate remuneration is distributed in a way that mirrors the flat lockstep of the firm’s partnership and reflects the strong collective belief in Slaughter and May’s distinctive no billable hours targets culture.

The firm’s decision to skip its pay review is unlikely to sit well with its lawyers.

Legal Cheek’s Most List shows that the outfit’s newly qualified (NQ) talent earn just £500 more than their counterparts at Linklaters (£77,500) and £500 less than Allen & Overy lawyers (£78,500). As for the rest of the magic circle, NQs at Clifford Chance and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer pocket a whopping £7,000 more than Slaughters’ (£85,000).

But is this pay freeze in fact a shrewd move by the Square Mile lawyers?

This morning, the UK awoke to the news that the general election had thrown up a shock hung parliament result (no party has the 326 seats needed to get an overall majority in the House of Commons). Given the confusion over who will take the reins at Number 10 and the suggestion there should be another — yes, another — general election, uncertain times have just got more, well, uncertain.

With that being said, will Slaughters’ pay freeze trigger similar moves across the City? Only time will tell.

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25 Comments

Corbyn. Sympathiser

Just goes to show: Theresa May and her Conservatives are bad for British lawyers

(8)(5)

Anonymous

Salary is completely uncompetitive.

(21)(1)

Anon

Will people start to give up and move to US firms?

(11)(0)

Corbyn. Sympathiser

Look, Theresa May and the Theresa May Party are doing all they can to makepeople abandon Britain. Why can’t you give her e break?

(3)(1)

Anon

The beginning of the article kind of makes it sound like they did this because of the hung parliament… kind of hidden later down that the decision was made in May

(22)(0)

Anon

Update: they’ve changed it now. Much clearer, thanks.

(1)(0)

Greedy greedy partners

Disgusting decision – look how much their partners take home. Shame on them, making their pyramid scheme even fatter.

(21)(0)

Corbyn. Sympathiser

Capitalism is bad.

(2)(3)

Anonymous

Surely the solution for the associates is to work hard, and make partner? That makes more sense than constantly increasing salaries.

(1)(10)

Anonymous

You must be amazingly naive.

(4)(0)

Corbyn. Sympathiser

Tories are.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

I call BS.

A decision like this would not be made within 2 and a half hours of a working day and leaked to the press. Any decisions on salary increases take months of consideration, so wouldn’t be based on last night’s results at all.

But hey, I guess LC need to try and create some form of clickbait on a day by trying to link the election to a 6 month old news story.

(14)(0)

Anonymous

Still no wage increases from the SC.

(4)(0)

Insider

The link between the election and this decision is fake news – this decision was communicated to staff in April. Don’t lie, LC.

(15)(0)

Anonymous

Seems like Tom is telling Porky Pies.

(7)(0)

Anonymous

Lock him up! Lock him up!

(8)(0)

Porkbarrel

Quality scoop from RoF innit LC?

Lovely little plagiarism job from good ol’ Tommy, terrific stuff.

(8)(3)

Anonymous

Given that they’re ‘keeping them under review’ and have a track record for raising salaries at less orthodox times in the year, perhaps they wish to wait and see what the rest of the magic circle does, so that they can then respond accordingly (rather than risk being trumped by them again).

(7)(0)

Anonymous

Embarrassing – how much longer people will consider Slaughters ‘the most prestigious firm in the City’ if their pay is consistently sub-market?

(22)(0)

mc

A good quality but very unfriendly firm, that now does fairly UK centric work.

(14)(0)

Bill

It is so hierarchical. Some partners actively refuse to hold doors for trainees. For me, that is simply not on.

(10)(3)

Anonymous

Do you work there? If that’s true, sounds like a horrible place to be.

(5)(0)

A trainee

Colleagues are genuinely very smart and hard working, however, some partners have an attitude problem. Certain partners refuse to hold open doors for juniors, others display major annoyance if you stop the lifts on the way down to get in and a small number expect you to be utterly silent throughout the day.

(8)(0)

Anonymous

Haha! That does sound horrible and I think that the compensation S&M offer does not quite justify having to put up with nonsense like that.

(4)(0)

Anonymous

I totally agree,working incredibly long hours for pay that is nearly 50% less than US firms is crazy.UK firms have to be more competitive and generous with their salary reviews.

(13)(0)

Comments are closed.