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Trainee pay at Sidley Austin hits £55,000

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Rises of up to 7% for US outfit’s London rookies

The London office of US law firm Sidley Austin has upped trainee pay by as much as 7%, Legal Cheek can reveal.

The Chicago headquartered outfit confirmed first year trainees will now receive a salary of £50,000, up 6% from £47,000, while those in year two will earn £55,000, up 7% from £51,500. The rises are effective from 1 June.

Legal Cheek’s Firms’ Most List shows that today’s money move puts the firm’s year two trainees on an earning par with their peers over at fellows US players Debevoise & Plimpton, Kirkland & Ellis, Milbank and Sullivan & Cromwell. Sidley’s newly-qualified (NQ) lawyers earn a recently improved salary of £130,000.

The 2019 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

Sidley, which offers around 15 training contracts each year, scored As for quality of work and perks in our latest Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey, and Bs for training, peer support and partner approachability.

Matters of money aside, the 20-office outfit is perhaps best known for bringing Brack and Michelle Obama together; the former US President met his then-future wife at Sidley’s Chicago office where Barack was a vac schemer and Michelle a junior associate and his supervisor.

Confirmation of the rises come just weeks after Freshfields upped NQ salaries to £100,000, a rise of £15,000 or 18%, in what has been described by some as an attempt to bridge the pay gap between the magic circle and top paying US outfit’s in the City. Announcing its own pay boost last week, US law firm Shearman & Sterling confirmed it had upped junior lawyer pay by 14% to £120,000.

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