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Newly qualified solicitor pay at Weil Gotshal hits £130,000

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A boost of 8%

The London office of US heavyweight Weil Gotshal & Manges has nudged newly qualified (NQ) solicitor pay northwards by 8%.

NQs at the New York-headquartered outfit — which offers around 15 training contracts annually — will see their salaries shoot up from an already rather impressive £120,000 to a mind-blowing £130,000. This means Weil’s junior lawyers have surpassed the levels of cash received by their opposite numbers at fellow US players Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, Davis Polk & Wardwell and Sidley Austin, all who pay £120,000.

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Legal Cheek understands trainee pay remains unchanged, with trainees continuing to earn £46,000 in year one, rising to £50,000 in their second year.

Today’s rise comes just months after the global outfit — best known for its private equity practice — boosted NQ pay by 4% from £115,000 to £120,000. On that occasion, the megafirm also bumped its Legal Practice Course (LPC) maintenance grant by 25%. Trainees-to-be at the outfit’s London arm receive £10,000 to tide them over during their studies.

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67 Comments

Anonymous

Not a patch on Greenberg Glusker.

(24)(2)

Fareed

Sir what is the NQ please at Greenberg Glusker thank u

(11)(1)

Anonymous

The honour of working in the topest top top firm on top of the top part of the world.

(13)(3)

rahul

i dreem of wrking at top titan firm of greenberg gulsker. i top stdnt at best law school at university of noida

(10)(1)

Kronos

Hi Rahul,

Follow your dreams. I started life as a child soldier in the Congo and self-funded my LPC at ULaw in Nottingham, but neither of those horrific and psychologically-scarring experiences prevented me from bagging a top, top TC at the top, top, toppest of titans.

(31)(3)

Joseph Kony

im coming for u

(15)(0)

JDP

That’s what my trainee just said to me.

(20)(0)

Anonymous

I’ve missed you JDP

(1)(0)

Top MoneyLaw Titan

Forget Greenberg Glusker guys.. LC is hosting an event for juniors with some MEGA US law firms like Kirkland and Skadden. That’s going to help me bag a TOP MoneyLaw gig!! 🇺🇸 https://www.legalcheek.com/event/junior-lawyer-workshop-and-social-life-in-us-firms-in-london/

(5)(0)

Anonymous

They had to raise the comp because nobody wants to stay there.

(30)(0)

Anonymous

Decent pe and funds teams

(2)(4)

Anonymous

Meh, everyone has decent pe and funds teams. Weil has retention problems across all practices.

(11)(0)

Anonymous

Davis Polk and Sidley Austin both already pay in excess of 120k NQ.

LC should really do their due diligence before making such claims.

(15)(0)

Anonymous

Agreed. Fried Frank and Vinson & Elkins also pay north of £130k.

(6)(0)

Anonymous

FF is on 130 I believe but no evidence. Vinson 143 as per their website.

(2)(0)

Anonymous

Far be it for me to stand up in defence of the often-risible, far-from-independent and never-far-from-plagiaristic Legal Cheek, but on this occasion criticism is unwarranted. The article doesn’t claim that this is the highest NQ salary; it just says that this is what WGM now pay.

(1)(7)

Anonymous

You didn’t read the article properly. LC claimed those firms only pay 120k, which is factually incorrect (and has been for more than a year).

(11)(0)

Anonymous

Okay, great. Do they have a YouTube channel?

(39)(0)

Anonymous

Brothers! Sisters!

Prime Minister Jeremy Corbyn will impose a windfall tax on city greed!

We will tax these surplus wages and redistribute them for the NHS and teachers’ pensions!

Solidarity with Palestine! Open borders to the Arab world now!

FOR THE MANY, NOT THE FEW!

(25)(35)

Gotshal Grammar School

” All of WHO earn…”, come on now LC… get with it.

(7)(4)

Anonymous

VE pay more.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Totally irrelevant. Can u read bro?

(2)(0)

Anonymous

Piss off

(0)(0)

PEPE

U OK HUN?

(2)(2)

Anonymous

You piss off too troll

(0)(0)

Anonymous

LMAOOOOOOOO

(0)(0)

Anonymous

I can, but can you read between the lines?

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Am I the only person who finds this constant idolisation of extravagant salaries distasteful?

(25)(20)

Anonymous

Yes.

(14)(2)

Anonymous

Yes. Dolla bill, yo.

(2)(0)

Anonymous

Yes. Cry into your insignificant pay packet, loser.

(4)(6)

Anonymous

Back to your revision notes, Fresher.

(26)(1)

anonymouse

Honest question.

How hard is it being a NQ at such type of firm?

I guess the salary implies a considerable amount of responsibility from day one. How can someone who has just transitioned from being a trainee manage such thing and do well?

Despite the above criticisms, it is unquestionable that the firm boasts market leading PE/Lev Fin/Funds practices in London.

I would be grateful if anyone with NQ experience at similar firms (i.e. US commercial firms and alike) could comment more on the transition from trainee to solicitor 🙂

(6)(2)

Anonymous

You sweat and piss blood, never get home early and shit billable hours at all times. Good luck

(26)(0)

anonymouse

I’m asking more about the kind of work which would justify a 130k NQ salary.

After all, an NQ may simply be a person who was a trainee the day before.

What can be expected of such an individual given such a high salary?

Are NQs at such firms capable of properly drafting most agreements and partially leading deals already?

Genuinely curious, as I know most trainees do very tedious work and minimal amounts of real drafting or being involved on deals from start to end.

(5)(1)

Anonymous

Your question shows slightly muddled thinking. The salary is not determined on account of the responsibility per se, it’s just market driven.

You are correct to point out that a brand new NQ is in fact someone who was merely a trainee the previous day. The difference is that firms can charge qualified associates out for much more money than trainees, hence they can pay them much more. This accounts for the massive jump in salary overnight. There is obviously no such corresponding jump in the lawyer’s ability.

The responsibility afforded to juniors at US firms is generally higher than at UK firms. Yes, juniors are asked to partially lead deals and draft agreements. Sometimes, they aren’t capable of doing it properly. This is what is meant by “sink or swim” culture. Those who cannot do the work, or learn how to do it quickly, get binned.

US firms in London look at what their competitors (mainly other US firms) are paying and decide where to position themselves. What must one do to justify one’s pay at Weil? Bill a hell of a lot of hours. Is that why Weil pays relatively inexperienced people £130k? No. £130k is simply what they’ve decided they need to pay to attract and retain the people they want.

(33)(0)

anonymouse

Thank you for taking the time to write this; finally a reply which is either not plain trolling and/or from students faking as US law firm lawyers…

The increase in charge-out rate from trainee to solicitor is perfectly understandable, what still strikes me is how much responsibility some of these NQs seem to be able to handle.

I had the pleasure of speaking with a few from similar firms and it was clear they were way ahead in terms of ability compared to some of their counterparts at MC firms which I also had the pleasure of meeting. This is very anecdotal experience, but it still spiked my curiosity as to whether most US law firm NQs (given also the considerably higher salary) possess these kind of skills at such a junior level.

This also begs the question of how did they manage to attain such competence at such an early age?

Everyone on LC appears to discredit US law firms for training quality… Then why are all the really exceptional NQs at US law firms? Are they all laterally hired or are US law firms simply more capable of forging exceptional lawyers who are able to handle real responsibility at NQ level?

(5)(3)

Anonymous

I would also say UK firms then to have a lot more infrastructure, support staff, juniors etc. Whereas US firms tend not to given the size of the offices generally, so a US trainee more often then not has probably had more involvement and responsibility during their training contract than their UK counterparts.

(13)(0)

Wombleby

“spiked my curiosity”

Surely you mean piqued, peasant?

(19)(2)

anonymouse

perhaps ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

(8)(0)

( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Anonymous

No worries, slow work day.

I wouldn’t go as far as saying that all the really exceptional lawyers – NQs or otherwise – are US-made. I haven’t seen any evidence to support that, either in terms of those regarded in the market as most technically brilliant or those who go on to become most commercially successful.

However, I do agree that US-trained junior lawyers, on average, have greater autonomy and are capable of doing more at an earlier stage than UK-trained peers. They attain competence faster because they are given work above their level from the outset – as it is often put, they’re treated like associates from day one.

So – if US NQs are generally capable of handling more responsibility – why is the quality of the training not always revered? Just my opinion here – I think it’s because “sink or swim” is a very stressful way to learn which probably suits fewer people overall than more structured training. Work often gets thrust in front of US trainees often without much background – it’s just a case of figuring everything out on an ad-hoc basis. This can lead to a slightly haphazard TC without the strongest underlying grasp of law, or the clearest sense of how different areas fit together. Also, there just isn’t necessarily the time, resources or mentors available to explain things, to the same extent one might find at an MC firm. Too much responsibility can be overwhelming, and there is a point past which it can be detrimental if a person is improperly equipped to handle it. At the same time, to the extent it forces you to grow up fast, it can be a good thing.

What’s the best way to learn guitar? Get given a guitar and a chord book and told you’re playing live next week, or go to a music academy and progress structurally? Depends on the person, probably.

(21)(0)

Anonymous

This was very much my experience working at a US firm very close to WG. Thanks for contributing.

(3)(0)

Anonymous

The only difference is (L&W and K&E aside I hear) you’re remunerated fairly for the hours you do at firms like Weil as opposed to having more responsibility than your peers at other firms. The hours are no longer at firms like Weil/Cleary/Ropes than they are at Travers/Macs at the quality of work is broadly the same, just at a US firm you don’t have to tolerate a bloated marketing team and hoards of graduate recruiters like you would at MC/SC firms.

(6)(4)

Anonymous

Aside from perhaps if you work in the most intense of transactional practices, this is total nonsense.

Having experienced working in disputes at both a US firm and SC firm, the hours and working atmosphere were substantially more humane at the latter. A bad day in the SC would be working past 7.30, which would be a very good day at the US firm. Add to that the cultural differences like it being acceptable to shout at juniors, zero respect for holidays or weekends and an expectation of constant availability then it’s a very different deal. There are lots of people who don’t have lives or don’t want them who look at the US model and think “there’s no difference, so much money”, but if you have anything important going outside of work you’ll soon see it.

(17)(3)

Anonymous

I work in a MC firm and my team regularly work till the wee hours of the morning, through our holidays and weekends and there is an expectation of constant availability at all hours of the day 7 days a week – is this normal for MC firms? Thankfully, our seniors do not regularly shout at us.

It is because of this working pattern that my colleagues and I do feel very strongly about the ever increasing pay difference between MC firms and US firms.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

What are the hours like at K&E and L&W?

(0)(0)

Anonymous

It’s not harder per se than working at an English firm but it’s different. What I mean by that is that the hours are going to be broadly similar in the busier practice areas but from my experience there is less checking of work product before it’s sent out unless particularly important (or if it’s obviously in relation to a core transaction document which you have “had a go” at). There are generally fewer people on matters so while you may not always be spread thinly across matters you will be doing much more top down – this coupled with that fact that US firms bill more aggressively and often work for private equity style sponsor clients (rather than institutional clients who force discounted rates with their advisers) mean that these firms are generally much more profitable – and support advice on deals is generally all outsourced. Generally, knowledge, knowledge management, marketing, IT function is smaller in the London office and formal precedents are fewer.

(2)(0)

Anonymous

This is a load of shit. You’ve mentioned 7 different firms in one comment, as if you’ve the faintest idea what working at any of them is like.

(5)(4)

Anonymous

I presume you’ve responded to the wrong comment and your remarks are aimed at the 11:10 am post. I’ve either worked at the firm’s mentioned and have close friends there with the exception of Latham (who’s reputation speaks for itself) so I have a good idea of what it’s like to work at these firms. Whilst the comments section of this site is generally full of trolls its nice for genuine questions to get answered occasionally, try doing the same.

Get off the ching and get in the sea.

(6)(0)

Anonymous

Yeah, my comment was aimed at you. Not knocking your effort to contribute. Just think your contribution was a load of shit.

What i took from your comment was:

1. K&E and Latham are exceptional (ok, you admit you’re just spreading hearsay, but how would your friends know. So Skadden, or Davis Polk, for example, are easier to work for then?)

2. The hours at Weil/Cleary/Ropes are the same as at Travers/Macs.

Just saying, I think both statements are nonsense.

(1)(2)

Anonymous

Not the OP but I think you’ve misinterpreted the comment.

(2)(0)

Anonymous

What are the hours like at K&E and L&W?

(0)(0)

Anonymous

BRUTAL, RELENTLESS.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Is L&W as bad as K&E for hours? I always thought that K&E was a league above in terms of hours.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

“it is unquestionable that the firm boasts market leading PE/Lev Fin/Funds practices in London”

LOL. Man said market leading 😂

(6)(1)

anonymouse

This comment proves how ignorant you are of the London commercial law market.

No point in replying with an explanation as to why…

(5)(2)

Anonymous

They are relatively strong in these areas, they are not the market leaders.

(2)(0)

Anonymous

Obviously not, CMS are.

(9)(1)

CMSslave

somebody plz help mi

(3)(0)

CMS Trainee

Cluck

(2)(1)

Anonymous

W&C and Shearman are looking increasingly uncompetitive in comparision…

(8)(0)

anonymouse

As opposed to WG, they are less focused on highly profitable areas only (such as PE/Lev Fin) – W&C especially, is basically a full-service firm nowadays complete of structured advisory departments.

(5)(1)

Anonymous

Shearman is focused on highly profitable areas.

(2)(1)

Anonymous

MONEY MONEY MONEEEEEH *high note* moneh

(1)(0)

Anonymous

all you need to do is get a TC and be among the 50% of the trainees that are retained at NQ level ^_^

imagine being a Weil trainee who works like a slave for MC-equivalent salary for two years before being kicked out before you can taste the big bucks

I’d kill myself

(3)(2)

Anonymous

That’s not what’s happening. They are leaving of their own volition, typically for other US firms.

(0)(0)

Comments are closed.

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