Follows moves by US players Milbank and Simpson Thacher
Kirkland & Ellis has bumped the salaries of its US lawyers by $10,000. This means the firm’s London-based junior lawyers, whose salaries are pegged to the dollar, are now on an eye-watering £143,000.
Last week, Kirkland confirmed it was upping the salaries of its US cohort from $180,000 (£135,500 based on today’s conversion) to $190,000 (£143,000). This saw the firm match moves by big US players including: Milbank, Quinn Emanuel, Simpson Thacher, Weil Gotshal, Jones Day, Debevoise and Plimpton, and Sullivan & Cromwell.
Milbank, which kicked off the stateside rises earlier this month, confirmed to Legal Cheek at the time that its London lot would be handed the same dollar-pegged salary uplifts. Just 48 hours later, Simpson Thacher announced the same global increases.
And now Kirkland has confirmed to Legal Cheek that it has done the same. This means the firm’s Gherkin-based City trainees, who earn £55,000 in their second year, will see their salaries rise by a crazy 160% on qualification.
Kirkland became one of the first US firms to peg its UK salaries against the dollar following a series of similar pay hikes in 2016. However, with the sterling hitting a new 31-year low against the dollar at the time, the firm’s City NQs saw their salaries swell from £124,000 to a high of £142,000 in just a matter of months. Kirkland — which offers around ten London training contract positions annually — later implemented an upper and lower limit on currency exchanges to stem the massive salary fluctuations.
Yesterday, Legal Cheek reported US litigation boutique Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan had upped the salaries of its London-based NQ lawyers to £125,000. Legal Cheek’s Firms Most List shows Quinn’s NQs are now £1,000 better off than their counterparts at Latham & Watkins, and a full £5,000 above those plying their trade at Cleary Gottlieb or Sidley Austin.