US outfit Vinson & Elkins rockets to very top of trainee pay table

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By Katie King on

Firm’s soon-to-be lawyers will earn £105,000 during their TC

Vinson & Elkins, one of the first US firms to open a London office, has increased its London trainee and newly qualified (NQ) pay.

First year trainees will, from this year, earn £50,000. This is a pay hike of £5,000 on last year’s £45,000. Pay for second year trainees has been moved from £48,000 to £55,000, up £7,000. Percentage-wise, these increases equate to 11% and 15% respectively.

NQ salaries are up even more — by a whopping 20%. Those starting lawyer life at V&E’s Fenchurch Street office will now earn £120,000, up from £100,000.

So where do these pay boosts put the firm on the trainee and NQ pay league table? Unsurprisingly, right at the top.

V&E — which takes on about four trainees a year — is now on a first year pay par with Davis Polk & Wardwell and Sullivan & Cromwell. These two US firms sit at the very top of the Legal Cheek Most List for trainee salaries.

The same is true for second year trainees. The Texas-headquartered firm now pays the same as Davis Polk and Sullivan & Cromwell, meaning aspiring solicitors at this trio of firms will earn £105,000 over the course of their training.

Turning to NQs, V&E’s latest offering is certainly not to be sniffed at. It’s double a whole host of City firms’ NQ salaries, and exceeds all magic circle pay by at least £35,000. However, today’s big money move isn’t enough to see V&E trouble outfits at the very top of our Most List. Kirkland & Ellis (£147,000), Akin Gump (£140,000), Latham & Watkins (£124,000) and Milbank (£124,000) all chuck more cash at their new associate talent.

Alex Msimang, managing partner of V&E’s London office, said:

This is a highly competitive market, and we believe these compensation adjustments exemplify our appreciation for the hard work and excellent service that our associates and trainees provide to our clients every day.

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