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Allen & Overy ups junior lawyer pay to £83,000 as it confirms 80% trainee retention score

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Magic circle outfit’s rookies handed £1,000 boosts

Allen & Overy has boosted the salaries of its trainee and newly-qualified (NQ) lawyers by 2%, as the magic circle player confirmed 37 of its soon-to-be associates were staying put.

A&O’s NQs will now receive a salary of £83,000, a rise of £2,000, while trainee pay now sits at £45,000 in year one, rising to £50,000 in year two — an extra £1,000 or 2%. Today’s modest money move puts A&O’s latest batch of associates a full £3,000 ahead of their peers over at Slaughter and May (£80,000) and £2,000 behind Freshfields‘ lot (£85,000). Legal Cheek’s Firms Most List shows Clifford Chance and Linklaters offer NQ salaries of £91,000 (including bonus) and £78,500 respectively.

Pay uplifts aside, A&O also confirmed an autumn retention score of 80%. Of the 46 trainees due to qualify next month, 44 applied for NQ roles and 40 received offers. Thirty-seven accepted. One of the City’s more consistent retention performers, A&O has chalked up rates of 80% (30 out of 40), 85% (40 out of 47) and 82% (31 out of 38) in the last three retention rounds. The 44-office outfit offers around 90 training contracts each year.

The 2018 Firms Most List

Claire Wright, graduate recruitment partner and training principal at A&O said:

“This is a good result and one which demonstrates the consistently high quality of the trainees here at A&O. We are fortunate to have such a strong pipeline of talented young lawyers and I look forward to seeing their careers develop and progress.”

News of the salary boosts and retention result come amid rumours A&O is involved in transatlantic merger talks. Earlier this month, Legal Cheek reported that the magic circle outfit’s top brass had met with senior partners from US outfit O’Melveny & Myers. If given the go-ahead, the tie-up would create a global outfit with over 3,000 lawyers and combined revenues of £2bn ($2.8bn).

97 Comments

Anonymous

How much do O’Melveny pay?

(7)(0)

Optional

Can we take a second to talk about that guy who hijacks first comment each time and just posts the same pro-Corbyn spam over and over? Can LC please investigate this, given the consistency and the ever-presence of this guy I think they could be a paid troll.

(29)(4)

Anonymous

who cares

(16)(4)

Bavid Bassleboff

Haha, you’re so naive. Why don’t you do yourself a favour and just google “web brigades”? You’ll see what it is such persistent posters are trying to achieve… it all boils down to behavioural reinforcement and these peoples’ ability to play upon predictable cognitive biases presented by certain demographics.

But yes, it’s a non-issue and we certainly shouldn’t promote open discourse on the topic. We all see the same poster every day, and nobody thinks it’s odd that they stay on the same message, make the same (typical of a non-native speaker) grammatical mistakes each time and don’t respond to further comments.

You should try caring about something as important as widespread misinformation tactics and blatant manipulation of certain demographics thanks to the instant access and gratification provided by this thing we call the internet.

(4)(11)

Anonymous

Don’t forget your tin foil hat to protect you from electromagnetic fields, mind control, and interdimensional vampires.

(23)(1)

Alex Jones

There’s a war on for your mind!

(10)(0)

JD...you know the rest

And your body…

(16)(0)

Anonymous

A supertax on this moneylaw greed!

Redistribute this surplus wage – nationalise the railways, pay teachers more, and increase NHS staffing!

VOTE CORBYN, FOR THE MANY, NOT THE FEW!

Anonymous

Sorry to shout, but…

…THESE ENDLESS ARTICLES ABOUT CITY LAW PAY ARE REALLY FUCKING DULL.

Time was that Legal Cheek ran a few of these as just part of the mix. Now it’s every other piece every fucking day.

Followed by legions of twats writing about US ‘shops’ and how Fuckwit, Douchebag & Spunkmeyer pay more than Skidmark O’Ballbag.

Tedious. So fucking tedious.

(13)(17)

Anonymous

Anti Semite!

(1)(5)

Anonymous

I doubt if Mr O’Ballbag was Jewish.

(5)(0)

Burned out US 4PQE

ROFL, WHAT AN EPIC RAISE!

(10)(1)

Anonymous

Poor busters. They have to give them something with all the other firms upping their NQ. 1k seems to little, so 2k seems just about right.

(3)(2)

Anonymous

Decent

(0)(2)

Anonymous

Anybody know what’s the pay these days at Seyfarth Shaw? They’re meant to be a top US firm.

(2)(1)

Anonymous

I think you’ll find it’s SHOP

(2)(1)

Anonymous

Clifford Chance from 87000 to 91000 and also increased intake size 80 to 95.

(1)(4)

Anonymous

Yes with the bonus

(7)(0)

Anonymous

Binary bonus, so it’s an ‘all or nothing’. Either you get 91k, or just the salary.

(3)(0)

Anonymous

Where are the rest off to?

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Latham, Ropes, Dechert

(2)(1)

Anonymous

SPB for Intl. Arb

(5)(0)

Anonymous

Strong exit ops – 2/3 anyway.

(4)(0)

Anonymous

Harsh.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(4)(38)

Anonymous

Oh it’s you again

(3)(0)

Anonymous

Doesn’t Corbyn like terrorists and wants to kill Jewish people or something?

I think he is a bad man.

(9)(5)

Bored of Anonymous 12.50pm's S***

Ladies! Gentlemen!

VOTE CONSERVATIVE!

For the few, not the many!

(19)(2)

Anonymous

Only £2,000 behind Orrick, who seem to be on 85 from chambers student

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Orrick upped to £100k NQ yesterday.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Really? Source?

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Anyone know if city heavyweights ‘Just Costs’ are going to be pegging their NQ Salaries against the dollar?

(30)(0)

Akin Pump

They’ve already exceeded the Cravath Scale brah, setting a new benchmark.

(1)(1)

Pelvis Bulk

This comment gave my groin the pump.

(2)(0)

Ambitious Trainee

Not gonna name my firm (it’s between DWF, Addleshaw, fieldfisher, womble) for obvious reasons but what do you guys think are the chances of me moving to A&O from my current firm as an NQ.

(3)(1)

Anonymous

Definitely possible, but why? You’ll only get a modest increase in earnings post-tax and you’ll definitely work longer hours.

(13)(0)

K&E NQ

A step closer to the ultimate exit op #youcantbuybottleswithprestige.

(22)(0)

Freshfields NQ

You don’t need bottles if you have prestige

(3)(26)

Anonymous

^ did not get a second interview at K&E

(21)(1)

Anonymous

Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen, Slaughter & May.

(42)(1)

Anonymous

would still only have like 4 offices lol

(1)(0)

citylaw123

Would be a great name. As much as S&M would like to merge with Wachtell/Cravath/Sullivon/Davis Polk/Simpson/Debevoise et al, it’s never going to happen. For one thing Slaughters isn’t profitable enough. Wachtell’s PEP is double Slaughters, Wachtell partners would be accepting a serious pay cut.

(6)(0)

Anonymous

Should have stopped at Cravath.

(11)(7)

Anonymous

Sullivon eh

(3)(3)

Anonymous

Interesting, but will it blend?

(7)(0)

Anonymous

Synergies for days.

(6)(0)

DWF Partner

We’ve got the biggest cocks in London and we’ve set our milestones high. Top international firm by 2020, a merger with top US firm by 2022, £2bn revenue by 2025.

Fuck yea.

(5)(2)

Well jel cos I want to work for DFS

Won’t DWF be long gone by then?

By 2020 it’s name will only exist on old mugs and pens on its ex employees home desks.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Any other US firms upped but not updated their websites?

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Can we please have an up to date comprehensive list of NQ salaries LC!

(2)(0)

Anonymous

Simpson Thacher £143K

(3)(2)

Anonymous

Is that right? It was 115.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Vinson & Elkins now also pay £143k NQ. It’s on the careers website.

(7)(0)

Anonymous

Yep

(0)(1)

Anonymous

Yes

(0)(1)

Anonymous

Absolutely correct.

(0)(1)

Anonymous

Correct

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Dentons?

(0)(0)

Anonymous

£75k NQ.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

When was this announced?

(0)(0)

Anonymous

has Gowling WLG had any pay rises?

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Just under 15% increase in wedge to £75,000

(2)(0)

Anonymous

If this is true then that’s a totally legitimate wedge for a shop like Gowling WLG.

(2)(0)

Anonymous

source?

(1)(0)

Anonymous

My imagination.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

WHAT ABOUT FIELDFISHER???????

(0)(1)

Anonymous

What’s the latest on rates over at Hunton Andrews Kurth?

(1)(0)

Anonymous

What’s the current NQ pay at Duane Morris? I would relish an opportunity to work there.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Less than Magic Circle.

(0)(0)

High Street Approaching NQ

Can someone please confirm what these mid-market US shops pay? Duane Morris, Dorsey, McGuire Woods, Katten, Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger etc.

(0)(0)

Another NQ

What about Faegre Baker Daniels or Locke Lord?

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Very disappointing raises. Not sure if A&O, CC et al can continue to claim to be part of the “global elite” with these wages. They may be from the clients pov, but whether they continue to be so from prospective trainees and associates is debatable.

(13)(1)

Anonymous

agreed, when you have top partners leaving (just yesterday head of cc infrastructure M&A went to Latham), and lower pay at the bottom, you start to wonder what will be left apart from some historic prestige which is slowly losing its basis

(12)(1)

Anonymous

Anyone know the latest NQ figures at Fassbender Humperdinck?

(1)(0)

Anonymous

What’s the newest on NQ rates at King & Spalding? Genuine question btw

(1)(0)

Anonymous

i am ashamed to admit I googled this.

(11)(0)

Anonymous

Has anyone got any info on the NQ pay at Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger? People told me they’re a top US titan.

(1)(1)

Anonymous

LMAO what’s a Greenberg Glusker? Is this even a real law firm?

(0)(2)

Anonymous

Yes, its 6 NQ’s can expect to trouser £110,000.

(2)(0)

Anonymous

Dechert up to £110k according to RoF

(1)(10)

Anonymous

Incorrect. £115k since July.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Quit lying

(0)(0)

Anonymous

I’m not, my mate’s brother’s dog’s first owner is 4 PQE there

(9)(0)

Anonymous

Why don’t more MC trainees leave to join US firms on qualification? Genuine question. I know there aren’t many spots, but I don’t even get the impression that many try?

(2)(1)

Anonymous

The ones who are not sure they will qualify try, it’s only sensible. The ones who know they are staying don’t bother.

(3)(5)

Anonymous

It’s not much effort considering you earn £60k a year more though is it?

Why would the best performing trainees not be interested?

(0)(0)

citylaw1233

There are a lot of MC trainees (350+ qualifying per year) and few NQ spots at good US firms. A lot of MC trainees apply for NQ positions at US firms (without telling anyone) but don’t receive an offer (and of-course some opt to stay at their training firm). However, it’s certainly not the case that trainees who know they can stay don’t seek better paying/more prestigious external roles.

(4)(1)

Anonymous

How do you apply to something that is not advertised?

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Recruiters

(3)(0)

Anonymous

How would that work with secondments? People would have to fly back for interviews?!

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Yes.

Anonymous

Teleportation is another option. Or an ocean liner.

Anonymous

Another reason is because MC firms can offer junior lawyers a lot that US firms in London can’t, in terms of gaining leadership skills early, integrating into a very large HQ office where they’ve just spent two years earning brownie points during the TC and forging great connections in the City of London due to the many initiatives MC firms are part of. Also working for/getting recognised by a much larger number of partners who tend to be all famous experts in their field rather than for a couple of star-partners who the US firms bought, as well as having access to diversity/pro bono/legal tech etc. work that you don’t get in US firms’ London offices (you’d only find that in their HQs across the Atlantic).

There is a trade-off to be comfortable with – earning a lot less at the MC and doing more process-heavy work in the first few years – but those MC juniors’ “value” will keep increasing (not at least because they have the confidence of having been retained and supported throughout their first PQE years) and a some of them make the switch at 2/3 PQE when they are more experience and settled and won’t have to start at the very bottom of the food chain in a US firm. Incidentally the 2/3/4 PQE mark is when a more and more of the US London associates are starting to change/switch careers because they are burnt out.

In a way it’s long-term vs short term thinking, depending on whether you want some fast cash and a career change or a longer career in law, and on whether you are only interested in documents or want to get more out of working in the HQs of huge global organisations.

(10)(9)

Anonymous

Interesting.

Is this true though?

Are you really more ‘valuable’ or preferred for in-house roles/smaller firms as a 3 PQE at somewhere like Freshfields compared to Latham/Kirkland?

(0)(0)

Anonymous

It’s a big exaggeration not based on a lot of evidence that you are trained for a better long career working as an MC trainee and associate than starting career at US firm. That was the case several decades ago when MC took less in and generally the London legal industry was far more a closed shop. With rise in graduates and number of MC training contracts expanding- see CC adding another 15 or 20 percent of trainee headcount, then the quality and value drops.

It all depends on what practice area first and foremost you want a career in. When it comes to high margin transnational work in corporate, finance particularly PE, capital markets etc. then US firms are still far ahead of UK counterparts. They still get the best mandates in the world and deal volume, hence higher profitability. Plus you have more responsibility to develop confidence and management skills essential towards an entrepreneurial partnership role later on when training at a US firm. If you’re interested in something more advisory and even litigation, magic circle is probably better in London. Those are more academic research-focused less transnational practice areas.

Finally, it also can perhaps be a better work life balance in the magic circle albeit that can be a bit of exaggeration too as mc trainee and associates still get beasted marginally less than US firms. There is more social capital in terms of meeting life friends, engaging in extracurricular team-building pursuits and diversity/pro bono stuff at magic circle firms compared to the smaller business-first-oriented US firms.

(1)(1)

Melvis

How does one transfer to these sorts of outfits from a High Street practice on £50K? Any tips?

(3)(0)

Anonymous

One doesn’t. You’re fucked.

(12)(1)

Comments are closed.