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Shearman & Sterling ups NQ solicitor pay to £120,000

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A boost of 14%

The London office of US law firm Shearman & Sterling has upped newly qualified (NQ) solicitor salaries by a healthy 14%.

This means that the firm’s 15 or so NQs annually will now enjoy a salary of £120,000, up from an already impressive £105,000. Legal Cheek‘s Firms Most List shows trainees at the New York-headquartered outfit currently receive £45,000 in year one, rising to £50,000 in year two.

There’s also extra cash for those further up the ladder. The starting salary for mid-year associates (3.5 years post-qualification experience (PQE)) is up 7% from £138,000 to £148,000, while senior associates (6.5 PQE or more) enjoy a 6% uplift from £165,000+ to £175,000+. The rises took effect from 1 May.

Matthew Readings, head of the London office, commented:

“We are pleased to be able to offer our associates an increased pay-scale across the board. This is part of our ongoing commitment as a firm to being an employer of choice and attracting and retaining the best talent.”

Today’s money move puts Shearman’s NQs on an earning par with their opposite numbers over at fellow US outfits Cleary Gottlieb (£120,000), Davis Polk (£120,000) and Ropes & Gray (£120,000), and comes a little over a week after we revealed that magic circle player Freshfields had upped junior lawyer pay by a whopping 18% to £100,000.

Money matters aside, Shearman performed well in our latest Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey, scoring an A* for quality of work, as well as As for training, peer support, partner approachability and perks. It secured the gong for ‘Best Law Firm for Quality of Work 2019’ at our awards ceremony earlier this year.

The 2019 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

54 Comments

Anonymous

Time for the firms previously hovering around the 120 mark to up to keep ahead. The likes of Shearman and White and Case were always slightly behind.

(8)(5)

Anonymous

White & Case still lagging behind, mind.

(8)(1)

Anonymous

Unsurprising really. Shearman, White & Case, Covington, Dechert, etc had been quite far off the pace. Freshfields’ move should shock them into action. None of these firms should be £40,000 off the top end of the market given they all pay $190k in NY!

(6)(1)

Legal Recruiter

Don’t think Dechert or Covington has the minerals to up whack to £140k. Too big and bloated to give raises to so many fee earners.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

No, I wouldn’t expect them to hit £140k but £120k is where I feel they should be – clear water between them and the MC.

(4)(0)

Anonymous

Not sure about Dechert and Covington, but W&C probably doing well-ish enough to bring that salary up. I’d still rather rake in 140k+ elsewhere though. If they take me that is…which they won’t

Anon

Assuming both hit an NQ rate of £120k, which firm would be the better option

(1)(0)

Anon

S&S v W&C ^^

(0)(0)

Anonymous

In terms of prestige, I’d say they are pretty similar, but if you are asking which firm is on the up, then definitely W&C. Shearman has been a bit stagnant recently, especially in the US. Shearman used to be considered a proper white shoe firm and W&C a rather average one, but I think there’s been a bit of a role reversal in recent years. Both great firms though!

(6)(0)

Magic Coke Trainee

A response to Freshfields’ increase in NQ pay. Equally poor hours so S&S will come out on top. Likely to have a knock-on effect for US firms as well as MC now.

(28)(2)

Anonymous

That’s actually pretty damn good.

(3)(1)

Anonymous

Brothers! Sisters!

The greed of the City is unsurpassed!!!

Jeremy Corbyn will tax it at 85%!!!

VOTE LABOUR

FOR THE MANY, NOT THE FEW

(8)(29)

Anonymous

If you want to contact your family can you do it by text or something, instead of clogging up the comments? thanks.

(12)(2)

Anonymous

Agreed brother!

A mansion tax on London greed, and a windfall tax on City lucre.

FOR THE MANY, NOT THE FEW

CORBYN

(3)(11)

Anonymous

NY firms throwing $$$ at the London market…

…seen it before, seen it again…

It will end in tears when they pull out.

Short-termism of the worst sort.

Enjoy the Benjamins whilst they last people

(0)(18)

Anonymous

S&S has been in London for decades, is well-respected in multiple areas and shows stronger growth in London than it does back in America – they aren’t going anywhere. Same holds true for W&C, Weil, Skadden etc. Those small outposts of American firms, with a handful of trainees and 1/2 practice areas? That might be a different story.

(15)(3)

Anonymous

What ‘small outposts’ are you referring to?

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Winston & Strawn, Baker Botts

Anonymous

Charlotte Proudman is doing a disservice to women: she should be pushing for 50% women EVERYWHERE! That includes coal mining, brick laying, steel smelting and on the front line of war.

(44)(1)

Anonymous

Hear hear

(6)(0)

Anonymous

Phat wack

(5)(0)

Anonymagic

Interesting. This is where I see a lot of NQs and solicitors not making the move from somewhere like Freshfields (extremely reputable and now dishing out 100k on qualification) for a firm such as S&S which would pay only 20k more but would mean working longer hours and ultimately having fewer exit options down the line.

(5)(25)

Anonymous

rather get the 20k extra to be honest

(47)(2)

Anonymous

Freshfields to Shearmans is hardly a bad career move !

(37)(16)

Anonymous

You’d probably work longer hours at Freshfields than S&S, it’s a total sweatshop.

(32)(1)

Magic Coke Trainee

‘’US firms have significantly worse hours than the MC’’

A false tale peddled by MC graduate recruiters, arrogant law students and bitter trainees. Hours largely depend on practice area rather than firm.

(70)(1)

Anonymous

Hours aren’t really much longer tbh bud.

(6)(0)

Anonymous

That was his/her point, Fresher

(8)(1)

Gertrude

It wasn’t. It was the opposite.

(2)(7)

Anonymous

Is the work-life balance at Shearman as horrific as it is at some of the higher-paying firms (Kirkland, Latham etc) ?

(5)(3)

Kirkland NQ

The ‘land isn’t horrific. I can work remotely at any of my holiday homes, or my yacht if I like. Just last week I was smashing a PE deal on the beach.

(33)(4)

Kirkland NQ

No, liar. I’m too busy bossing the hell out of these PE deals.

(0)(0)

soon to be Shearman NQ

Nah it’s aight.

(13)(1)

Anonymous

Expect a beasting in Project Finance

(18)(0)

CMS 4th Seat Trainee

Hopefully this means a cheeky raise for us too (on the off chance my Kirkland offer doesn’t come through that is).

(3)(4)

Anonymous

JUST IN: CMS to raise NQ whack to £110k on 1 June 2019. Penny not giving any Warneings this time…

(9)(0)

Links cap markets

The Shearman London office has always had a good rep. Decent work, good people and the hours are nowhere near as bad as a milbank/latham/Kirkland. Personally would much rather take £120k at the former than £145k at the latter as an NQ. Expect W&C to follow suit shortly (they always do).

(33)(1)

Anonymous

Shearman & Pound Sterling amirite

(18)(1)

Kirkland NQ

Cute

(2)(4)

Anonymous

Back to revision cretin, you’ve still got two more first year LLB exams to go.

(25)(2)

Kirkland NQ

How would you know? That’s right, you don’t.

Actually sat in the hot tub in my Chelsea townhouse with a couple of models, a bottle of Krug in the ice bucket and the Lambo in the garage. Jealousy doesn’t suit you.

(9)(17)

Anonymous

I earn less than half of that at 7pqe in the regions. FML.

(17)(0)

Anonymous

You’re also commenting on LC at 9pm on a Monday night. Thought the regions were about work life balance?

(3)(1)

Anonymous

Appeal of regions is waning. Get home maybe an hour or two earlier, but stagnant salaries coupled with booming housing markets in Manchester & Birmingham makes the outlook grim

(7)(0)

Anonymous

Yeah to be fair all the motor claims guys at DWF Warrington should just jump on the dolla train and join a white shoe firm in the City. Not sure why they don’t.

(6)(2)

Anonymous

Plenty of decent lawyers in Manchester, Newcastle, Scotland etc. that can easily move to the City. The salary differential is now such that many do. £40k at 2PQE vs. 100k-150k in the City?

Anonymous

Hear hear. Salaries have been left roughly the same for years now, completely out of tune with the housing market, inflation and general commercial reality. Sucks to be them

(6)(0)

Anonymous

Your quality of life is so much lower if you don’t move into inner London and commute from the regions to a city firm.

(0)(0)

Kirkland NQ

Totally. It’s such a trek travelling in to the City from Chelsea every day.

Anonymous

Piss off you beta

Kirkland NQ

Major LOLs at the jealousy over here. Oh well, I guess I’ll have to go to the Ferrari dealership later to buy myself a little gift to cheer myself up after your insightful revelation about my character.

Anonymous

The only Ferrari you’ll ever lay hands on is a Hotwheels die-cast edition from the local Toys R Us, you insignificant cretin

Anonymous

Enjoying Kirkland NQ’s work here.

Anonymous

Sidley has just boosted trainee salaries to 50k for first year and 55k for second years.

(1)(0)

Comments are closed.

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