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Reed Smith ups NQ lawyer pay — and billable hour targets

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Rookie pay hits £90,000, as billing targets increase from 1,650 to 1,700 hours

Reed Smith’s London office

Reed Smith has upped the salaries of its junior lawyers, as billing targets at the firm are brought in line with City rivals.

The outfit confirmed this morning that newly qualified (NQ) associates will see their salaries swell from £77,000 to £90,000, equating to an extra £13,000 — or 17%. Legal Cheek’s Firms Most List shows Reed Smith’s NQs are on the same cash levels as their opposite numbers at Baker McKenzie, Hogan Lovells and Mayer Brown.

Those further up the ladder are cashing in too. First-year associates will now receive a salary of between £90,000 and £100,000, while mid-level associates (between two and six years post-qualification experience) will earn base rates of between £95,000 to £125,000. Trainee pay remains unchanged, £43,000 in year one and £47,000 in year two.

On the back of the pay boosts, Reed Smith has also upped billing targets.

Associates at the London office will see targets increase from 1,650 to 1,700 — an additional 50 hours per year. This puts them level with the likes of Bakers, Herbert Smith Freehills, Hogan Lovells, Linklaters and Simmons & Simmons.

The 2020 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

But the financial rewards could be worth the extra effort. Revealing a new tiered reward system, junior lawyers who clock up 2,000 billable hours a year can now receive annual bonuses of £25,000. Previously the firm offered junior lawyers bonuses of £7,500.

A Reed Smith spokesperson said:

“I can confirm that we are increasing our salary bands and bonus plan to remain competitive with the market and to enable us to continue to attract and retain the top talent that is a hallmark of the firm. We are also increasing billable hours targets [in London] from 1,650 to 1,700 hours, to reflect the high performance we are getting and rewarding from our talent. The changes allow us to continue to invest in talent at all levels.”

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