Stephenson Harwood ups junior lawyer pay to £75,000

By on

Trainees also handed extra cash

Stephenson Harwood has upped pay for its trainees and newly qualified (NQ) solicitors.

The ten-office-firm, which takes on roughly 20 trainees each year, has bumped London NQ pay packets to £75,000, up 3% from £73,000. Meanwhile, rookies in year one of their training contracts now earn £43,000, up 5% from £41,000, while those a year ahead now receive £47,000, an uplift of 4% from £45,000.

Legal Cheek’s Firms Most List shows that today’s modest money move puts the City outfit’s NQs on the same levels of cash as their counterparts at Dentons, Reed Smith and Simmons & Simmons (£75,000), and a full £2,000 over and above their equals at Squire Patton Boggs (£73,000).

The 2019 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

As for life at the firm, Stephenson Harwood notched up As for quality of work, perks and office in our Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey, as well as Bs for training, peer support, partner approachability, work/life balance and social life.

Confirmation of the uplifts comes just 48 hours after Linklaters finally followed its magic circle rivals in upping NQ pay to £100,000 — a six-figure-sum which includes a discretionary performance bonus.

For all the latest commercial awareness info, and advance notification of Legal Cheek's careers events:

Sign up to the Legal Cheek Hub



When will the firms start paying 75,000 to trainees? Hope next year, when i start applying for training contracts, otherwise no point doing this.


Beggars can’t be choosers my friend.


Sad that TC applicants do not have a union. Could make a strike and refuse to apply (though afraid there may be some strikebreakers).


NQ salaries don’t matter as much, buddeh. What you want is consistently-increasing salaries through the years. Taylor Wessing might fool you with 71k, but their senior associates make only 105k or some such. CMS might seem trash with 70k, but their seniors make in excess of 120k. Think of the future.

Kirkland NQ

“In excess of £120k”

Lmao hefteh


They don’t sell their souls at least, buddeh! They have a life outside your Gherkin!


Kirkland trainees have the personality of stale cement

Rupert; a US Firm associate

🎶Chick chick chick chick chicken….

Chicky chicky chick chick FEED🎶




In my opinion, a very good firm with reasonable working hours and a supportive environment.

Everyone I met who had trained/worked at the firm always had something positive to share about it.

Pay is, of course, not on par with SC/MC/US firms, but the training is certainly excellent and supplemented by an almost guaranteed possibility to have a life outside work.

Opinions about it? My view is that of an outsider, would be interesting to know more about people who are currently there!


Their men’s traps turn into gas chambers by 10.00am. Literally choking on ass fumes right now holy sh*t


I love how the comment complaining about ass fumes at the bogs has more upvotes than the idiot above gushing about Stephenson Harwood. Hilarious


Shame even BCLP is paying less than this bush league firm.


It’s actually the same, BCLP pays £75k


Not 70??? LC is at it again…


Considering how hard some teams at BCLP pump you that’s pretty weak pay


£2k increase? That’s what I spend in an hour on a blonde escort.


Derisory pay rise, considering how hard some NQs work at that firm. Pathetic

Cambridge LLM

Never heard of this mickey mouse law firm…

Oxbridge Grad

They don’t attend Cambridge Law Fair. No Cambridge student in their right mind would train at a second rate firm.


There are over 10,000 UK law firms. Stephenson Harwood is in the top 20. It is a ‘good’ firm by any measure.

Macfarlanes Future Trainee

I did a spring vacation scheme here. Avoid, avoid, avoid.




Because it’s a sweaty, stuffy shithole with unrealistic expectations for how much are the partners willing to reward the associates. Anyone in the firm’s finance department is being absolutely had, toiling for half the pay they could get elsewhere

Stephenson Harwood final seat trainee

We were told about this “increase” internally a few weeks ago. Let’s just say the amount didn’t go down well and retention figures won’t be high. I’ve already found a few recruiters that can help me get out on qualification.

Hours are not too bad average is 9am-7pm. Trainee salary is good though!

Stephenson Harwood Partner

You snake in the grass


Aren’t you talking with headhunters as well? Off to Mayer Brown you go!


I’m up north – this would be a cut in hours and a 35k salary increase – fairly jealous… Unreal split with the regions by this point!


If your pre-tax wedge is less than 1/3 of what you bill per year, LEAVE. I left a regional outpost of a “national” firm when I was lucky to get 1/5 of my billables – went boutique in London and have never looked back. My pay increased by 50% and working hours decreased by 15-20% on average.


Hear hear


A £2k increase when firms are topping up NQ whacks to £90k+ is humiliating. No wonder the trainees are heading for the door, I would too


Why do English lawyers start so late? When I was a solicitor in Sydney I started at 8 am and now I am at the bar I start at 7am. So much wasted morning time


Thanks to the average London commuting time, our clients don’t usually cock up until just before lunch. Gives us time for a mean avo and poached egg on toast.

CMS 4th Seat Trainee

Meanwhile we are still stuck on 70k. It’s like a workhouse in here and the partners won’t give us a fairer share. Thank god I am off imminently – the grass (and certainly the green) are greener just about anywhere else.

Skadden NQ

Who’s going to hire CMS staff? Papa Johns? McDonald’s? Good luck mate.

CMS 4th Seat Trainee

Thanks, but no luck needed. I’ve already secured a first class ticket for the US dolla train.


If it looks like bullshit and smells like bullshit, it’s probably bullshit


So that application to Skadden worked out well?

CMS 4th Seat Trainee

It did actually – it was one of a handful of firms who made me an offer to join their PE practice. I ultimately decided to go elsewhere.


Top bantz


You are so much better meme, than the Kirkland NQ


Sounds to me like someone got their TC application rejected by CMS lol. Better luck next cycle, buddeh!

I know innit

Another firm that DWF wanted to merge with, but can’t afford to match salaries.

To be honest – it could even match salaries if it merged with Greggs.


DWF, aka Claims Handling Plc. I could see them trying to merge with DAC Beachcroft or BLM to become the masters of clipped wing mirrors, but they could never match a former club of nine firm.


So many jokes on this forum


Like you?

Join the conversation