Brit lawyers could boost salary by over a third working in US

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From £66,329 to £93,284

British lawyers could boost their annual salary by over a third if they relocated across the pond, new research claims.

The study, conducted by property buyer Good Move, found Brit lawyers, who earn £66,329, on average, could see their salaries swell by as much as 41% to £93,284 if they moved to the US. The research compared UK lawyers’ salaries with the ten countries most popular with people choosing to emigrate.

Doctors, however, stood to gain the most by leaving the UK. Those in the medical profession could more than treble their yearly earnings — from £48,460 to £167,135 — if they moved to America, researchers found.

The 2020 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

Since the financial crisis in 2008, stark differences have opened up in legal professionals’ earning power — as shown by the MoneyLaw trend sweeping the City that is seeing newly qualified (NQ) solicitor pay at some corporate law firms rise to dollar-tied figures of around £150,000.

The London offices of US-based law firms typically have smaller trainee cohorts and are, to a large extent, the driving force behind the movement. They tend to pay a whole lot more than their London-based rivals, with our 2020 Firms Most List showing the top 20 highest paying firms at NQ level are all US-headquartered. Each firm pays above the £100,000 mark.

The magic circle and other top UK firms have come under pressure in recent months to match the market-busting figures to attract and retain the best graduates.

US firms might pay more but they demand longer hours, with some clocking up an average of 2,100 billable hours a year, compared with magic circle firms’ 1,800.

Readers contemplating a move Stateside should know the cost of doing so may chip into the supposed salary increase. A handy calculator determines relocation can cost as much as £13,600.

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This is a pretty stupid survey though – it’s not that simple. Most firms need people to have done the NY Bar or have it underway, and gone are the days of sauntering off to New York for work. You’re not going to get someone from Irwin Mitchell trading in their 3PQE London salary for Big Law in NYC really are you?

It’s like saying “Tahitian lawyers could increase their salaries 400% by moving to the UK” – yes, they could… but it’s very unlikely to actually happen, no?

It’s a case of statistics being highlighted without any real understanding of the realities behind them.



The article didn’t address the likelihood of the above occurring, it was a mere statistical comparison.

Not that useful, I agree, but not wrong in itself either!


Greenberg Glusker LLP, the all-powerful firm that because of its endurance and inflexible will to win, goes from conquest to conquest, leaving fire in its wake

There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.



You’ll spend the difference on healthcare…


LC Hater

‘Research claims’

You make it sound like a bunch of scientists pored over the Chambers Student NQ figures to calculate the fraction difference between U.K. and US firms



They’d have to get used to two weeks holiday a year, rather than five.


MC lawyer

And these two weeks are often not even all used up – at least not in the NYC office our the Magic Circle law firm I work for.

So, it begs the question: Do you want to double your income with approx. 1 week per year to spend it on?



US student

Yup. Ugly cities, ugly ranchy accents, streets riddled with homeless addict lunatics the likes of which no European city has seen, and ugly fat bastatds all around. The 1 week of holiday your ‘Murican masters would bestow on you you’d want to spend as far away from that bloated 3rd world dump as possible.



You couldn’t pay me enough to live in the land of supermarket mobility scooters for the obese, bread infused with sugar and being the only person in office under 200lb.



What is lb?


It means pounds



Sergey Brin

Bro, you need to discover the thing I created to help people like you. I think you’ll find it’s super cool.


Other Sergey

Who are you to lecture me?



Perhaps if you’re stuck working for some high street shop in Fayetteville, Indiana. NYC is the most spectacular city on earth and you sound like a total dong for not recognising it.



Perhaps you are the dong if your knowledge of ‘spectacular’ world locations is limited to NYC and the Ninja Turtles



You can’t get fully nude dancing and alcohol on a licence in Manhattan. I rest my case for London.


Angus, Exeter University LL.B.

“could see their salaries swell by as much as 41% to £93,284” Market for all firms in the US is 190k USD…



all firms?


Angus, Exeter University LL.B.

first year only goes up after



That’s factually incorrect. $190k is the market rate for only a select few markets, namely the major legal hubs such as NYC, Chicago, D.C., LA and a few others. The vast majority of US lawyers will never reach such a salary.



Unless you graduated top of the class from a top law school in the US, did a summer associate job and started your professional career in New York City from day one, you can forget about relocating to New York full time (unless it is a temporary secondment with an overseas office).

Other parts of United States may work out for niche areas, but NYC is off limits.


Regionally trained - US 2PQE associate

Agree, especially if you want to join the mighty Greenberg Glusker LLP, the all-powerful firm that because of its endurance and inflexible will to win, goes from conquest to conquest, leaving fire in its wake.



Like the BPTC, it’s shocking the way the New York Bar exam was promoted by unscrupulous providers to English law students.

They play to these students’ fantasies of living a ‘Gossip Girl’ or ‘Sex and the City’ lifestyle.



The truth is the NY Bar is not even difficult at all. You don’t need to take any BarPrep.



It’s equally shocking to charge students $14k for the LPC, falsely making them believe that they will get a TC after and a high flying legal career.



How embarrassing.



I studied the NY Bar without taking any BarPrep courses. It is not difficult and anyone can do it. If you don’t have a US JD degree, you are unlikely to get hired by big City firms (unless you have a significant amount of experience or connections).


NY attorney

Note “studied”, not passed.



Thanks for pointing that out. I passed.



That’s the point – it’s a waste of time without the JD and the only people that benefit are the people you’ve parted money with.


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