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Slaughter and May bumps associate pay by up to 8%

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Rises follow last summer’s improved six-figure packages for NQs

Slaughter and May has increased the salaries of its junior lawyers and dished out bonuses.

The fresh boosts follow the magic circle player’s decision to up total newly qualified (NQ) solicitor packages to £100,000 amid a fierce summer pay war among the City’s elite outfits.

Slaughters confirmed associates with two-and-half years post-qualification experience (PQE) or more will receive a pay increase of between 2.2% and 8.2% with effect from this month. This, the firm says, “ensures that we remain competitive in the marketplace at all levels of associate remuneration”.

In addition to the rises, associates received a bonus in December for the year 2019 ranging from 8.7% to 14.6%.

A spokesperson for the firm said:

“We continue to value and recognise everyone’s contribution by rewarding our associates in a way that reflects the partnership’s flat lockstep structure and by not imposing billing or time recording targets.”

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Responding to similar moves by its magic circle rivals, Slaughters upped its NQ base rates last summer from £83,000 to £92,000 — which with a bonus of around 8.5% takes total earnings to just over £100,000.

Legal Cheek understands there have been grumbles in the market among some associates after the sharp NQ pay rises meant they were earning similar levels of cash as their less experienced colleagues.

Drawing comparisons in terms of pay between the City’s top firms is becoming increasingly more difficult, with many opting to combine base rates and bonuses.

Both Linklaters and Clifford Chance offer packages of £100,000 including discretionary performance bonuses, while Allen & Overy dishes out a “minimum total cash” of £100,000, comprised of salary and a “sign-on bonus”. Freshfields, however, offers a discretionary bonus on top of its £100,000 base rate.

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