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Clifford Chance is latest magic circle firm to cut NQ solicitor pay

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Follows moves made by Slaughters and A&O

Clifford Chance is the latest magic circle firm to cut the salaries of its newly-qualified (NQ) solicitors as the unravelling of last summer’s City pay war continues.

Solicitors qualifying in September 2020 will receive a total pay package of up to £94,500 with bonus, approximately £5,500 less than last year’s six-figure sum. CC previously bumped NQ pay from £91,000 to £100,000, comprised of salary and bonus, following the 2019 summer City pay war. The firm does not report its NQ base salary.

CC also confirmed that trainee solicitor pay remains unaffected — £48,000 in year one, rising to £54,000 in year two.

Today’s news comes less than 24 hours after we reported that fellow magic circle player Allen & Overy has reduced NQ pay from a minimum of £100,000, comprised of salary and sign-on bonus, to £90,000. Meanwhile, Slaughter and May confirmed a month ago that its NQs will earn £87,000, a reduction on the £92,000 base salary.

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Freshfields, however, has decided against an NQ salary cut and will continue to pay its rookie talent £100,000. Linklaters is understood to be still considering its NQ pay position.

Last summer saw all five elite firms boost annual NQ salaries to at least £100,000 in competition with the London offices of US law firms.

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