News

Dechert boosts junior lawyer pay to £110,000

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80

A rise of 16%

US law firm Dechert has upped the salaries of its London-based newly qualified (NQ) lawyers.

Dechert NQs will see their salaries swell to a staggering £110,000, up £15,000 from the previous salary of £95,000 or 16%. London trainee pay, however, remains unchanged: first years earning a still very impressive £45,000, rising to £50,000 in year two. Dishing out around ten training contracts annually, Dechert provides a £10,000 grant for both the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) and Legal Practice Course (LPC), too.

The salary increase sees Dechert rise up our Firms Most List NQ pay league table and leapfrog fellow US players Shearman & Sterling (£105,000), White & Case (£105,000), Sullivan & Cromwell (£101,500) and Jones Day (£100,000). The rise stops short of the rates currently paid by Gibson Dunn (£112,500), Weil Gotshal (£115,000), Ropes & Gray (£115,000) and Skadden (£118,000).

The 2018 Firms Most List

The 28-office outfit covers a broad range of practice areas, including finance, IP and litigation, and our Firms Most List shows rookies have the opportunity to spend time abroad on secondment — 48% have done so.

Meanwhile in other Dechert news, the firm announced a 60% autumn retention score. The outfit declined to provide further details on this. Last autumn, Dechert chalked up a score of 50%, and in 2016, the Philadelphia-founded law firm posted a rate of 73%, hanging on to eight of its 11 NQs.

This news comes just days after fellow US firms Ropes & Gray and Kirkland & Ellis posted perfect autumn scores of 100% (10 out of 10) each, while White & Case reported a rate of 84% (21 out of 25).

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80 Comments

irritated trainee

come on White & Case – falling behind the going rate

(7)(4)

Anonymous

Brothers, sitsters, we must stop this greed and elect Jerem.. actually, no. I’m not an idiot.

(55)(7)

Anonymous

VOTE CORBYN

FOR THE MANY, NOT THE FEW!!

A WINDFALL TAX TO PAY FOR MUCH NEEDED DOCTORS AND NURSES!!!

(2)(32)

Dr Frankenstein

For the MONEY, you mean to so?

(1)(0)

Anonymous

How about speaking up and trying to stop Brexit, so all the European NHS workers don’t leave?

(0)(2)

Anonymous

Brothers! Sisters

The priorities in our society are our underfunded schools and hospitals!

These bourgeois wibblings about Brexit are irrelevant!

Most Labour MPs have seats in Brexit-voting areas!

Brexit isn’t the priority – socialism is! We need socialism, NOW!!!!!!

VOTE CORBYN, FOR THE MANY, NOT THE FEW!

(0)(13)

Anonymous

Except that Corbyn is in favour of relaxing immigration policies, which will mean that more people are more easily able to move to the UK, placing even greater demand on those very same underfunded schools and hospitals. Far from providing a solution, Corbyn offers only catastrophe.

Anonymous

Shearman, White & Case, Covington, Morgan Lewis etc. follow suit?

(9)(0)

Anonymous

Highly likely, definitely Shearman and W&C. Not so sure about Covington though

(6)(3)

Anonymous

Why not so sure?

(4)(0)

NQ

Yeah boiiiii, more cash for me to spend on delectable hookers, finest quality blow and high potency weed to calm me down after a big sesh on the powder.

(23)(1)

Anonymous

Congrats any Dechert lawyers. Firm gone up in my esteem. Hope Cleary ups to the going Cravath/Kirkland scale. Not heard much news about them despite the bonanza from other firms. Fingers crossed that it is up but the firm is just secretive.

(15)(23)

Anonymous

The fact they’re paying more doesn’t make them better lawyers or less eye bleedingly cunty.

(44)(9)

Anonymous

Directors at DWF are on less than that.

(8)(0)

Anonymous

Wtf is a director

(6)(0)

Anonymous

Managing Associate at other firms.

A sandwich tactic to pigeonhole people thay aren’t partner material but allows them to think they have some prestige.

(5)(0)

Anonymous

Managing Associate? Director? Jesus… all of these titles at firms with insanely greedy equity pools. Additional titles really are just a way to delay people pursuing partnership. I’m still used to trainee, associate, senior associate, partner.

Simmons & Simmons says to hell with it all and calls it Associate, Supervising Associate, Managing Associate, then Partner…. for those not interesting in partnership I think I heard them say they had a Director or Associate Director (or something along those lines) title available. Supervising Associate?? Sounds like a baby sitter.

I think Links is just Associate, Managing Associate at 6 years PQE, then chase the elusive partnership. Although I am not too familiar with them. Hopefully that is only it, it’s nice when they’re honest and stick to the 3 tiers.

(2)(2)

Legal Rec

Links also have Counsel

Anonymous

Will DWF be creating non-executive director positions in light of its upcoming IPO?

(2)(0)

Anonymous

No.

(0)(1)

Anonymous

Yes.

(0)(1)

Anonymous

Another job title created to prevent lawyers from breaking into the partnership

(6)(0)

Anonymous

WHEN WILL FIELDFISHER RAISE THE SALARY 62K IS CHICKEN FEED

(4)(0)

DONGWEI

I NEED MORE MONEY.

(9)(0)

Anonymous

Any news on rates from the guys over at DeCotiis, FitzPatrick, Cole & Giblin, LLP?

(2)(1)

Anonymous

I’m still waiting on news about Greenberg Glusker. Top top firm.

(3)(1)

Anonymous

Top shop

(6)(0)

Anonymous

Topman?

(2)(0)

Anonymous

Greenberg Glusker is more Hermès than Topman

Incognito

“[Dechert] announced a 60% autumn retention score. The outfit declined to provide further details on this. Last autumn, Dechert chalked up a score of 50%, and in 2016, the Philadelphia-founded law firm posted a rate of 73%, hanging on to eight of its 11 NQs.”

Why such poor retention rates? I’m very junior, so please forgive my naivety, but I can only think of four alternatives:

1. Mistaken over-recruiting. When, four years ago, Dechert awarded these trainees sponsorship through the GDL, LPC, and then a two-year training contract, they *accidentally* overestimated their need for NQ solicitors in 2018.

2. Deliberate over-recruiting. When, four years ago, Dechert awarded these trainees sponsorship through the GDL, LPC, and then a two-year training contract, they *deliberately* overestimated their need for NQ solicitors in 2018, so as to enable a ‘Hunger Games’ style ‘survival of the fittest’ in which they could select the best candidates.

3. Unable to offer desired practice areas. Dechert may have offered most/all trainees NQ jobs, but not in the practice areas which they wanted, so consequently they left.

4. Trainees found the idea of qualifying into Dechert, per se, unattractive. Finally, trainees, based on their training contract experience, may have decided that they didn’t want to qualify at Dechert at all, for some reason?

I suspect that the only people who will know the truth are those at Dechert, but I would welcome idle speculation!

(17)(0)

Future Trainee

its option 3, mostly. In the last couple years only one or two don’t choose to apply for a qualification job.

(9)(0)

Anonymous

5. Some of them just didn’t make the grade.

(3)(0)

Anonymous

It’s a mixture of 2, 4 and the culture here, which is just toxic.

(12)(1)

Anonymous

lol. bitter?

(6)(3)

Anonymous

Culture may seem toxic if you’re a dickhead

(1)(0)

Decherted

Unlike most of you keyboard-cowboys here, I actually work at Dechert and I can assure you that it does live up to its reputation. That’s why I am interviewing and trying to leave.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

haha

Anonymous

Mr Dechart, I don’t feel so good…

(17)(0)

Anonymous

Any news on Dechart?

(30)(0)

Anonymous

Dechert is the Benedict Cucumberballs of law

(10)(0)

Anonymous

W&C and Shearman have always paid more than Dechert, I expect them to go £115k

(1)(3)

Anonymous

JonesDay now pays £105k NQ, LC.

(1)(0)

JD Partner

£104,999.99 is for your silence when you leave.

(8)(0)

Anonymous

It’s really not that seedy at Jones Day. Kirkland, on the other hand…

(4)(9)

🔎🔎🔎

There’s many rumours making rounds in the City. Care to share some gossip?

(1)(0)

Anonymous

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

Anonymous

Firms like Weil and Fried Frank will surely need to up to stay ahead.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

I imagine a lot of US firms have upped without updating their graduate websites yet (new recruitment cycle hasn’t started yet)

(2)(0)

Anonymous

FF pay US $ rates to UK associates

(1)(0)

Anonymous

143?

(0)(0)

Anonymous

127 – they use a different conversion formula so are on par with Latham, Debevoise etc

(0)(0)

Anonymous

(…who use the same conversion formula)

Anonymous

Vinson & Elkins pays NQ £143.000…

(5)(0)

Anonymous

That’s what sadly happens, you win the aspiring solicitors competition, they give a training contract to the winners and never retain them. Typical

It’s all a game, even after beating out all that competition.

(6)(4)

Anonymous

That’s because many of the Aspiring Solicitors Finalist / Winners have done the competition multiple times and know the format and answers, are paralegals or working, and are just not good enough to apply themselves and go through the normal way.

(3)(5)

Anonymous

I’m guessing that you didn’t make it past the first round….. stupid

(4)(0)

Anonymous

That’s a hefty salary. I gather Dechert has a bad rep from these comments sections, is it so bad that decent (albeit significantly lower paying firms) such as Lovells, HSF, Travers etc remain more attractive?

I assume people would still take a MC offer over Dechert?

(5)(3)

Anonymous

It would be very short-sighted to train at Dechert over MC based on the nq salary, though I’ve seen plenty of people make dumb decisions for more or less that reason. After tax, 110K vs 80k isn’t a huge deal. Your career would be in a stronger position as an MC NQ in every other category of analysis, including exit options. This is very important, as almost everybody leaves the firm they train at. Dechert have a habit of fucking people off, to boot.

(17)(4)

Anonymous

15.5k a year difference after tax with a widening gap for each year of PQE is actually quite a big deal when you’re doing the same work and hours at both. That’s a deposit on a flat in the north, get tenants in to pay the mortgage with some leftover. Alternative 2 years of 15.5k is 31k which is a deposit on a flat in London.

The exit options thing also isn’t right. At all. And no, other lawyers don’t fall on their knees at the MC or stick their nose up at Dechert. Are you a good candidate and do you have relevant experience? Always the best q. Sounds like another “future MC trainee” sipping the kool aid.

I’m at another US firm. I wouldn’t have any plans to move to Dechert unless they offered me more money. I’ve seen people make moves similar to Skadden to White & Case or S&C to Jones Day. And people from all shops do well in house. Obviously that might shock you, but then you don’t really know what you’re talking about.

(15)(0)

Anonymous

ROFL £31k deposit for a flat in London. where mate? In Catford? 😂

(3)(3)

Anonymous

Help to Buy.

Anonymous

Again, where mate? Considering it’s capped at £500k 😂

Anonymous

Cba to argue, so all the best with your future move to Dechert for money. If your plan is simply to move in house, then agreed, you’ll be fine.

Fact is, those with ambition will train at MC. If they want a bigger associate salary, they are best placed to go out and get it.

(1)(4)

Anonymous

It’s not 15.5 k difference, more like 12. Will have an impact on where you can rent, but won’t significantly impact where you can buy. Notwithstanding a desire to maximise short term returns, it is without doubt a better idea to train at MC than Dechert. For one thing, if associate pay is your priority, you have a better chance of moving to a Cravath scale firm as a junior associate. For another, the brand value MC adds to your CV far outstrips Dechert. You mention in-house, ironically that is precisely the sphere in which MC firms are fawned over the most and training at MC will give you the biggest advantage. In private practice it is less of a factor (though still not an insignificant one, as borne out by the number of MC associates plundered by K&E/Latham etc. compared to Dechert) but admittedly, laterals get hired from all over the place.

You can call me a kool-aid sipper but these are facts. Slate MC as much as you like, but draw the line at advising people that Dechert represents a stronger career option. BS.

(2)(1)

Anonymous

That’s a fair point, but what about those firms that pay £120k+, but not in the category of K&E, Latham etc. Would you pick, say, Vinson & Elkins, over the MC, purely on the fact that the former pays £143k to NQs? I know V&E are big in the energy space, but how good will your training and prospects be rather than if you had trained in the MC? How good are the practices of some the less well known/publicised US firms in London that pay big bucks?

(3)(0)

Anonymous

VE doesn’t pay 143k.

(3)(5)

Anonymous

It’s clearly stated on their recruitment page: https://www.velaw.com/Join-Us/London-Legal-Recruitment/

(7)(0)

Rupert

That includes bonus.

(1)(5)

V&E NQ

It doesn’t actually. Nice try.

Anonymous

It does. Get off Legal Cheek’s Most list and go outside, the world is a lot bigger than you think.

(1)(2)

Anonymous

Vinson & Elkins has less than 100 lawyers based in London. The firm, although notable for their energy expertise, lacks strength in other practice groups (Mostly Band 3 or below). This will impact training prospects and deal experience if you end up outside their strengths, in turn hurting lateral movement.

V&E and MC Firms are undeniable international compared to other firms like Slaughters, Gibson Dunn, STB, etc. But V&E does not do top tier work in the US in general, outside of Texas. Nor does it do top tier work outside of the US. Again, this goes back to deal experience which will affect training and prospects compared to a MC firm where there are far more opportunities.

You will be paid more. But the firm is not headquartered in the UK and does primarily volume work and support work from its other offices. This will put you at a disadvantage for your long term career when compared head to head with a MC firm.

If your goal is for a quick buck, then V&E will place you in a better position. But there are a few other firms that pay the same as V&E and provide far more complete training and better prospects. If your goal is partnership or lateral movement to an in-house role or to a more elite law firm, V&E does not open as many doors for you.

(4)(2)

Anonymous

MY GOAL IS THE QUICK BUCK!

HIT ME UP WITH THE $$$$$$$$$$$$$$

(6)(2)

Anonymous

Sounds like you should go to Tesco, you might make it to interview there at least.

(2)(1)

Anonymous

If you want to work in oil & gas and construction law on a global scale, Baker Botts and Vinson are two of the best firms in the world for those areas. Last I heard Baker Botts doesn’t offer TCs though, so I guess apply for NQ positions? Anyways, what K&E is to private equity, those two are to oil & gas. You will also be making BANK with them, and receive good training in those specific areas of law.

Brown Rudnick is famous for defending directors when companies around the world go belly up following hilariously negligent management. Great contentious insolvency practice. It’s a lot of fun billing off of peoples shattered hopes and dreams.

You’d really have to want to work in those sectors though, and if variety is something you value then might as well f*ck off to the MC for a few years of good training from a variety of clients. Unless you have considerable work experience in a specific area, it’s not necessarily a good option to limit your options and exposure.

(3)(1)

Anonymous

The market is always candidate short at the junior end. No firm of repute in a mainstream practice area will hold you back.

(7)(1)

MC NQ

The Magic Circle is in terminal decline.

(8)(6)

Anonymous

Says the unemployed person pretending to be a MC NQ or a NQ for that matter.

(6)(2)

US white shoe 1 PQE

Seems MC juniors are increasingly vehement in their denial that the MC is falling away from the front of the pack. I wonder why that might be…

(1)(0)

YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE ME I HAVE A TC AT KIRKLAND OKAY

US HUR DUR BIG SWINGING DICK HUR DUR DEATH OF THE MC HUR DUR CRAVATH SCALE HUR DUR MONEY MONEY MONEY

(2)(0)

Anonymous

Translation: “being silly is all I have left, because I can’t actually disagree with any of the points”

(0)(0)

Comments are closed.

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