Slaughter and May cuts NQ lawyer pay to £87,000

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COVID-19: Move comes just weeks after magic circle player suspended partner distributions

Slaughter and May has cut the salaries of its newly qualified (NQ) lawyers in a bid to negate the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Associates due to qualify at the magic circle player this September will now earn a still relatively healthy £87,000. Pre-cut, Legal Cheek‘s Firms Most List showed NQ base rates sat at roughly £92,000, with performance bonuses bumping earnings to in excess of £100,000.

The cuts come just weeks after the firm deferred annual salary reviews and temporarily suspended all discretionary distributions to partners.

The 2020 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

Slaughters isn’t alone in cutting junior lawyer pay in response to the pandemic.

Last week, Legal Cheek revealed trainee pay at Taylor Wessing had been cut by 8% as part of a new flexible working programme. The firm also cut partner drawings by 20% and delayed salary reviews until the autumn.

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For me, the important question is, what happens after this covid 19 is resolved? I suspect Slaughters (and possibly, the other MCs) intend to lower associate salaries for the long term and not just the covid crisis.

US firms are increasingly becoming attractive career options for associates probably because they can attract more profitable work. If this pay disparity goes on for too long, I think we might see a new stratification of law firms, with the elite US law firm as top tier in terms of profitable work and prestige amongst Lawyers and the magic circle relegated to second tier.



Don’t put K&E in the same basket as Latham…sorry to disappoint you, but it is extremely easy to get in to K&E due to the extremely high turnover of people. It dishes out so many offers that people often don’t turn up on the day they’re suppose to start because they dropped it for another firm…

As for the others you’ve mentioned, yes they can be more selective.

I generally find people who’ve moved to a US firm to have a greater inferiority complex because they try to justify having left their MC/SC firm for more money, when in reality it’s cos they could never really make it…




There we go again, another MC trainee with an inferiority complex.


Big yawn

Another LPC student who hasn’t started their TC



No inferiority complex, I got an offer from Kirkland so I know how easy it is and have also worked alongside their salaried partners. Kirkland is as bad as any law firm that gives a mid-level Associate the “partner” title – a disastrous mix of lower quality work and high egos. Added to that is the constant churning of people across departments.



Snowflakes, snowflakes, just get into acceptance and be ready to either have to work very hard for less pay or not be able to work as a lawyer at all.


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