Ropes & Gray bumps London NQ pay to £130,000 as it confirms spring retention score

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Keeps two out of three NQs

The London office US outfit Ropes & Gray has bumped the salaries of newly-qualified (NQ) lawyers.

The firm’s associates will now receive £130,000 plus bonus, up 8% from £120,000.

Legal Cheek’s Firms Most List shows Ropes’ London lot are now on the same levels of cash as their opposite numbers at Latham & Watkins and Weil Gotshal & Manges, and a full £10,000 better off those over at Gibson Dunn, Shearman & Sterling and Covington & Burling (£120,000).

The 2020 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

Trainees at the firm currently earn £50,000 in year one, rising to £55,000 in year two.

At the same time, Ropes confirmed it is retaining two of its three rookies who are due to qualify next month. They will join the firm’s litigation & enforcement and data privacy practices.

Turning to life at the firm, it notched up A*s for quality of work and office in our latest Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey, as well as As for training, peer support, partner approachability and perks.

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Top firm, top pay!



Brothers! Sisters!

Jeremy Corbyn WON THE ARGUMENT!!!


A windfall tax on this greed to pay for legal aid!

Its only a matter of time



Scrub tier US but you’d take the wedge



You need to get your head checked if you think Ropes is “scrub tier” mate. A world-class firm paying world-class whack.



You mean absolute nobodies that need to up their salary to attract anyone half decent.



Keep applying for those vac schemes Jim, one firm is destined to finally invite you to an interview.


Truth speaker

Unfortunately, this seems to be true- Ropes is NO WAY on the same tier as the following, particularly in PE: K&E, Latham, Weil for starters

Damn, even Travers and Macs probably attract more high-quality PE work that Ropes…


Erect America

Lmao yea I’m sure Ropes are quaking in their boots from top firms like Travers and Macs. These retarded LC commenters are hysterical


Top wedge tbf. What’s Ropes go-to for now in London though? Their funds team all left, is it a leader for PE?


4th Seat Trainee

I am thinking of applying to this firm. What are the working hours there? I would prefer to leave around 19.00.


Addleshaw Debt Finance NQ

Best go to Shoosmiths for that pet.



You’re in luck! Each day at 5:00pm, the head of the London office gathers the heads of each department to assemble in the lobby, where they form a guard of honour to say farewell to their loyal lawyers. “We love you!” “Great job today!” “WE couldn’t do it without you!” they cry as they hug each grateful staff member of staff, tears falling onto their cheeks. The staff exit to calls of “Don’t you come back until 9:30 tomorrow, at the earliest” as they hand in their work phones, knowing that their job is done for the day.



Thanks! Will definitely add this to my cover letter as the reason why I apply to the firm.


Legal Genius

U been a ‘4th seat trainee’ for a year now mate. Move on.



Have you ever thought… it might now be a new fourth seat trainee, previously on their second seat?



When is Jones Day going to come close to matching the pay of the other US firms?



Lmao a bucket shop like Jones Day?


another day

lol why would jones day match any of these, it’s already high as it is for its type of work…it’s mostly a place for taylor wessing rejects



For the work life balance alone that’s a much better deal than Weil or Latham.



Yes, I’m sure Ropes are handing out this pay rise as a charitable gesture rather than (among others) to reflect the hours billed and cash brought in by their associates. Muppet.



From what I’ve heard Ropes is sweaty as hell and full of pr**ks to boot. I know traineees at Weil and Shearman and the hours are nowhere near as bad as Latham, Cleary and K&E generally speaking. People on legal cheek post so much bs



Heeeey, you’re just a 4th dear rookie with too much jib in your turnaround! Cut some flack gingerbread! Cut some flack!


Dum Fuc

U high bruv ?



Pump up your pip tip bubba just roll with bingo nah man! Get me russa-rude-dem-innit WHAAAAA? Much man dem payin for PE round here blagg man ting innit?


Former Bazza

@truthspeaker, do you work in PE either as a Solicitor or in a fund I suspect not. Ropes have a good PE team, much of their work is in executing the more complex and larger transactions typically in the £250-£500MM EV range, much of it cross border.

That is very different to what Macs and Travers do, whose domain is executing growth/lower mid-market transactions below £100MM,EV in respect of UK only transactions in the main. For the purposes of disclosure I have never worked for any of the above firms.


ev mm cross-border/cross-...





Truth speaker

This is a fair point. Btw no, I am not working currently, I am a future trainee at a US firm in the city but I do know people who have worked at some of the above firms.
I am aware that Travers and Macs are generally involved with the less high-value side of Private Equity offerings (relative to say Kirkland), however Traver’s PE team, for example, is going from strength to strength- and many of the deal values are undisclosed, so we cannot always assume they are below £100M.

I have just gotten the impression, from speaking to people in the city, that Ropes (in London anyhow) is a ‘give it or take it’ firm when it comes to PE deals- it would be nobodies ‘go to’ option. Would this be a fair point to make?



Rookie question here – when you talk about retention rates, is it good or bad for it to be high? Like does a 100% retention rate mean that all the trainees were that great, or if its 80% does that mean the firm thought some of their trainees weren’t good or did those trainees leave to go elsewhere?



Everything you mentioned and more. The obvious options:

1. Trainees couldn’t qualify into their chosen area. Disputes (litigation/arbitration), for example, is consistently over-subscribed, so people often leave if they can’t get a place in the relevant team. This is high risk though, unless they can actually secure a place elsewhere, and NQ Disputes roles are like rocking horse droppings.

2. Better offers elsewhere. Classic but clichéd example: Magic Circle trainees taking NQ roles in US firms for (a lot) more money.

3. Not good enough. Some people are culled.

4. Some people don’t want to be lawyers any more, once they realise what the job actually involves. This is a surprisingly high number (i.e. it’s more than 0%). Law is lots of time behind a computer, as an office monkey for senior lawyers. It’s not LA Law/Ally McBeal/Suits (select based on your age). Law is dangerously easy for people to slide into through a mixture of idealism, ignorance and inertia. See/listen to this excellent podcast series here, for some real horror stories!

5. Firm misjudged its requirements, and over-recruited four years earlier. It’s very hard for firms to assess demand almost half a decade in advance (i.e. people are recruited at university two years before a two year training contract). Unsurprisingly, sometimes it goes wrong.

Unfortunately, the answer to your question is that trainee retention figures don’t really tell you much. They are a willy-waving competition for firms, who would very much rather retain their trainees (because they’ve spent money on them, and poor retention looks bad), but from your perspective considering firms, I don’t think you can really learn that much from them. I’m happy to be contradicted, though.


Former Bazza

Truthspeaker, Macs and travers probably have the most high profile domestic lower mid market/growth profile in terms of transactions that cross their desk, no doubt. They have made that space largely their own.

Agreed Ropes is not the go to firm for PE


Comments are closed.

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