US summer pay war continues to rock UK market
US powerhouse Latham & Watkins has become the latest outfit to bump the salaries of its London newly qualified (NQ) lawyers to £143,000. The increase follows similar UK rate rises by a host of its US rivals including Akin Gump, Kirkland & Ellis, Fried Frank, Milbank and Simpson Thacher.
Latham splashed the cash late last week and upped the salaries of its US-based newbies to $190,000 (£143,000). This in response to a series of rises triggered by New York-headquartered giant Milbank earlier this month.
But the good times don’t stop there. Latham, which offers around 24 City training contracts annually, has now confirmed its London lot will receive the same six-figure sum — an uplift of roughly £19,000 or 15%. Trainee remuneration currently sits at £46,000 in year one, rising to £48,000 in year two.
Legal Cheek’s Firms Most List shows Latham’s London NQs are now £23,000 ahead of their counterparts at US duo Cleary Gottlieb and Sidley Austin (£120,000), and a whopping £25,000 over and above those plying their trade at fellow New Yorker Skadden (£118,000). Not quite matching the new coveted £143,000 pay level, Quinn Emanuel confirmed last week that its City NQs will now receive a salary of £125,000, a rise of £10,000 or 9% — a sum still impressive enough turn even most well-remmunerated of magic circle lawyers green with envy.
Monster remuneration aside, Latham was a solid performer in our Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey. It received As for, among other things, quality of work, office and perks, and Bs for training, peer support and partner approachability. It could, however, only muster a D for work/life balance. Junior lawyers at the firm report an average arrival time of 9:32am and an average leave time of 8:38pm, roughly in line with other big US players in the City.
Earlier today, Legal Cheek brought you the news that Akin Gump had joined the US pay bonanza and increased US junior lawyer pay to $190,000. Like Latham, it too chucked the same increases at its London cohort.