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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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35 Comments

Dark Destroyer

Enjoy your money, I’ll enjoy my health thanks.

(28)(12)

Anonymous

How is it possible that a senior associate would only make £20-30k more than an NQ?

That just doesn’t sound right!

(16)(2)

Gertrude

Perfect recipe for associates jumping ship straight after NQ

(7)(1)

RS spokesperson

As indeed many of them have. It’s a very common issue.

(8)(1)

Anonymous

These rates are base. RS obviously do not want a high base rate for low-performing senior associates.

If you’re a half decent senior associate, you’d be getting a lot more than this base.

(8)(0)

Legal Genius

Shet firm – non-existent high end corporate offering. Just another shipping shop.

(8)(22)

Anonymouse

Anonymous
Jan 24 2020 11:19am

Does not look right because it is bollox

(0)(3)

Anon

Reasonably phat whack for a shop like Reed Smith. Totally shits on the likes of Pinsents and CMS lol

(14)(3)

CMS 4th Seat Trainee

Yeah. I am waiting for CMS to make a similar move, although thank god they gave us corporate slaves a 10% uplift this year.

(4)(2)

Turbo Lover

Top notch raises. From £1.00 up to £1.10, holy f*ck!

(6)(0)

Saba

What gets me is that in for example financial services you are for a number of years moving away from sales targets etc. The regulators expect focus to be on conduct and doing the right thing. So, why does it make sense for there to be billable targets. Now I understand it’s about making a profit however, should there not be just as much focus on doing the right thing for your client or customer rather than launch into billing. There should be more focus on targets around your behaviour and general performance rather than just billing.

(4)(4)

Gaua

because that’s how client’s want to pay and its how they want to see invoices broken down before paying and it’s how the court sets costs.

(3)(0)

Saba

Agree with your points however, it’s about time there was more focus on culture and conduct rather than just billing

(1)(2)

In house

I’m in-house at a financial services company. We are still massively driven by sales targets, no matter what we tell the regulator.

If you want paying lots of money, you’ve got to make lots of money.

(1)(1)

Saba

Yes, i agree you need to sell etc to make lots of money, but it should not just be about that. Thought needs to be given to promoting the right culture, values, behaviours and conduct not just billing more.

(3)(1)

Saba

Maybe I’m just too nice

(0)(3)

Confused Finalist w offers

Using this incase people w advice see it – Jones Day, Baker Mackenzie, or Travers TC ? Which should be taken ?

(0)(6)

Anonymous

Wipe your backside. Look at what is on the paper. The image will guide you to your ideal firm.

(6)(0)

Mr Smith

Travers. No way you’d regret it.

(3)(0)

JDP

Send me some pics then I’ll advise

(10)(1)

EBITDA

when you work out that the salary increase is pretty much a direct correlation of realisable rates and the increase in billing targets…

STOP LYING TO US LEGAL CHEEK. First it was including discretionary bonuses in Salary and now your making out the firm has generously increased salaries to match the market.

(3)(1)

Meena

Just after an honest opinion please. This has been bugging me for a long time. I am approaching 40, poor a levels-really poor, I have a 2:1 from a former poly. I also did the LPC where I just missed a commendation by 1 mark. I have had no resits at uni or during LPC. I have spent my whole career in financial services including in house litigation where I am mid level management. To be honest I never tried to get TC because I never had the confidence previously however, I had to work hard at this and now I’m better. If you were me would you try to get a TC. The company I work in does not offer this, so would you apply whilst in work to other firms for a TC, or would you say don’t look back now just focus on financial services sector and try and work up the ladder. Thank you

(1)(6)

mba

The second option. Maybe look at the CiLeX route if you’re keen but I wouldn stick to financials if I were you

(2)(0)

Anonymous

No.

(0)(0)

jim

No. Being a 40 year old trainee would be grim.

(3)(0)

Anonymous

If you keep thinking about training and it’s something that interests you then why not give some applications a try. Network, speak to some people who trained later in life. Consider training in-house. It doesn’t hurt to go out and give it a try, if you fail you can always keep doing what you’re doing and work your way up the ladder but at least you’ll know you gave it a shot.

(0)(0)

Meena

Very true. Thanks. I do think you have made a good suggestion to speak to people who trained later in life. I think applying for Vacation Schemes puts me off as I might be the only older person applying. Thanks though. Does anyone know firms which are more likely to take on those who have trained later in life?

(0)(0)

Anon

Assuming this isn’t trolling, which it likely is, I’d say bail on pursuing a TC.

Law is insanely snobbish and no matter how good you do in an assessment centre/vac scheme, you’ll always come off as second rate because of a-levels, poly uni, etc. Your work experience will be mostly irrelevant. Law is snobbish. I know this because I sat with my firm’s recruitment partner when viewing applications and I watched him laugh at similar CVs.

Do not believe the “oh my mum is a 1 legged dolphin-identifying lesbian and I grew up on a counsel estate, bad a-levels and a 2:2 in law from Uni of Essex and no I’m a trainee at Clifford Chance because I just worked hard” types. They are very very much the exception.

However, there was a few reports out the last few years that showed financial services and accounting were by far the most diverse employers (by uni). Stick to financial sector and work your way up the ladder until you’re at the point where you are making magic circle law firm partners dance for you.

(8)(0)

Anon

Or consider one of the lesser known US firms in the City – Fried Frank or Goodwin, perhaps. Supposedly more open-minded.

(1)(2)

JDP

Or if you’re a woman whose retained her looks, I’m always happy to mix it up with a MILF once in a while.

(4)(4)

Anon

I love the sense of community in the LC comments section; this lovely chap is volunteering his highly-valued time to give some ol’ drapes a good dusting.

I hope you put that into JD’s annual CSR report.

(1)(0)

Meena

So sweet thank you

(0)(0)

Anonymous

What’s a ‘counsel estate’?

(0)(1)

Meena

Stop being horrible. We normal human beings can all my typing mistakes. It’s because we are thinking about words we use day to day at work so we know it’s Council not Counsel.

(0)(0)

Meena

Thank you those who have provided an honest opinion. I appreciate it.

(1)(0)

Comments are closed.

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