Slaughter and May pay: NQ salaries up to £80k while trainees enjoy boost too

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Magic circle firm flashes the festive cash

Slaughter and May will be giving its trainees and newly qualified (NQ) lawyers a late Christmas present this year: a salary increase to come into effect in January 2018.

NQs at the magic circle giant will soon earn base pay of £80,000, a rise of £2,000 or 3% from £78,000, to “reflect current market rates” a spokesperson told Legal Cheek.

The firm’s bonuses are staying steady, the spokesperson continued:

“Associates achieving a good or exceptional level of performance will again receive a bonus this year ranging from 9% to 16% depending on whether they are NQs or on the number of years’ post-qualification.”

This news comes six months after Legal Cheek reported the firm was freezing lawyer pay. “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”, a spokesperson said in June.

It’s happy days for trainees at the firm too.

First years, who are currently on £43,000, will soon enjoy an increase of £1,000 (2%) to £44,000. This is the same salary currently paid to first-year trainees at firms including: Allen & Overy, DLA Piper, Hogan Lovells and Norton Rose Fulbright. Clifford Chance pays slightly more (£44,800), while new trainees at fellow magic circlers Linklaters and Freshfields get £43,000.

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Slaughter’s second years get a £1,000 (2%) boost too, up to £49,000. This puts the firm on a par with rivals Allen & Overy and Linklaters, while Freshfields pays £48,000. Clifford Chance’s lot get the most: £50,500.

Lawyers who are six months into their solicitor journey at Slaughter’s will soon earn £84,000 a year (up from £82,500), while one-year PQE salary will be £88,000 (up from £87,000).

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No news about Irwin Mitchell’s NQ pay rise to four slightly expired sausage rolls and a pat on the back?



Gonna have to make a complaint. Didn’t get my pat on the back.



Unsure on this maths…



Quick maffs


6PQE at DWF on

Nice to see the divide between top and bottom continue to widen.


s.32 Salmon Act 1986

Obviously the “top” US firms who pay NQs £100k+. While Slaughters has clearly failed to keep pace, it’s a little harsh to call them the “bottom”. More “mid-tier”.



I assume the bottom reference was DWF.

We‘re on at least 20% below market rates.

And the firm has the money – it just goes to the top and doesn’t trickle down…


s.32 Salmon Act 1986

I really don’t understand why lawyers stay (long-term) at firms where they feel they are (financially) undervalued. Your value in the market is whatever the market thinks you’re worth. So if you think your employer is undervaluing you, get some headhunters, talk to some other firms, and see if you can convince them that you’re worth more than you’re currently being paid. If you can, then great – you win! If you can’t, then you have learned that you’re probably not being undervalued (at least, not right now, but try again in a year or so).

This is a theory I have put into practice three times in the last year. Started out in the MC, then moved to a succession of US firms, each time for a sizeable uplift in comp. There is no point in working as hard as the guys at the top of the market but not getting paid at the top of the market, provided you’re good enough to get there.


s.32 Salmon Act 1986

*D’oh. Typo – “…three times in the last DECADE”. Obviously not jumping ship three times a year.



Yes, I agree; however, try having worked at the likes of Irwin Mitchell or Slater & Gordon and trying to get another job…

You may as well apply for a graduate scheme at Starbucks.



Lol at Tom, Alex and KK down voting.



FYI, there are no mentions of ROF on The Lawyer, Legal Week or Legal Business’ coverage of the S&M rises. You better get over there sharpish!



Thanks, Alex. Will get right on it.



Is it common practice for trainees to get bonuses or not?



LOL not.


Jones Day NQ

Depends on how much time you’ve spent on your knees over the course of the year,


Jones Day Partner

I said kneel.



Most don’t but it depends on the firm.

My firm does but it’s not linked to performance. It was a standard £1k pa





Jones Day Partner

Yes please. I’ll get the chains.



Wonder what K&E bonuses are



Measly rise. Slaughters and the rest of the MC genuinely seem to be struggling. Saved by fall of the pound this year but if Sterling bounces back their results next year are going to be seriously alarming.


Phillip Phagharty-Whetpance

My salary is paid in Isle of Man £1 notes.

Are these accepted in city bars?



Try in The Griffin.


Associate, 2PQE, Waterloo Road Food Bank

Is this why I’ve been meeting more and more of these Oxbridge toffs at lunch time?


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