Hogan Lovells cuts NQ pay and freezes salaries for some trainees

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Exclusive: Second year rookies to remain on first year salaries

Hogan Lovells’ London office

Hogan Lovells has cut the salaries of its newly-qualified (NQ) solicitors and frozen pay for some trainees as it navigates the “challenges and uncertainties” presented by the coronavirus pandemic, Legal Cheek can reveal.

NQ associates in the firm’s London office will now earn £85,000. Prior to the pay cut, the NQ base rate sat at £90,000, with discretionary bonuses of up to 30%, giving a potential total pay package of up to £117,000. Hogan Lovells confirmed that the salaries of its NQs based in Birmingham have also been reduced to £46,000.

The firm previously announced in April that salary reviews and discretionary bonus payments due to associates in the UK and Asia in May have been postponed, and will be “reassessed later in the year”.

Today’s news comes after Freshfields and Herbert Smith Freehills decided against cuts to NQ pay. Freshies will stick with its magic circle market-leading six-figure £100,000 sum, while Herbies is expected to pay its NQs the current rate of up to £105,000 comprising salary and bonus. Slaughter and May‘s NQ base salary, however, is down £5,000 to £87,000. Meanwhile, Linklaters is yet to confirm its NQ pay position.

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In light of the current set of circumstances Hogan Lovells has also reviewed its UK trainee solicitor salaries.

A spokesperson from the firm told this website that “second year trainee salaries will remain static”. There will be no increase in salary when its first year trainees move into the second year of their training contract in August. They will remain on the first year trainee pay.

Our Firms Most List shows Hogan Lovells pays its London-based trainees £46,000 in year one and £51,000 in year two.

“In recent months the firm has taken measures to manage our business in response to the challenges and uncertainties of the COVID-19 crisis,” a statement from the firm read. “This includes postponing UK salary and discretionary bonus reviews for lawyers until later in the year.”

The statement continued:

“We looked very carefully at what we thought was best in the current conditions as we navigate the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. We appreciate that this is disappointing for our trainees and NQs and we are committed to reviewing this position again later in the year as part of our wider salary and discretionary bonus review process.”

The start dates for Hogan Lovells’ next trainee intake in August 2020 remain unaffected and will go ahead as planned. “We look forward to welcoming new talent to the firm,” the statement concluded.

“We are in the midst of our qualification process. We are offering unpaid leave as we do for every qualification round and discussing this with people on an individual basis. As always, we’ll have people starting at different times,” the spokesperson added.

In April, we exclusively reported that the firm, which recruits around 50 trainees each year, had cancelled its 2020 summer vacation schemes in view of the coronavirus and made training contract offers early. Candidates that were not offered TCs were invited to attend its winter vacation scheme later in the year.

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Dr P




So it begins


HL fourth seat trainee

Anyone know the current NQ whack at Leland, Parachini, Steinberg, Matzger & Melnick, LLP?

Since HL told me isn’t keeping me on I polished up my experience and have a CV ready to ping over. My recruiter tells me its a top MoneyLaw firm.


I am 100% a genuine Freshfields Autumn 2020 NQ




Holy shit. My mum came into my room to bring me a plate of chicken nuggets and I literally screamed at her and hit the plate of chicken nuggets out of her hand. She started yelling and swearing at me and I slammed the door on her. I’m so distressed right now I don’t know what to do. I didn’t mean to do that to my mum but I’m literally in shock from the cuts to NQ salaries I’m seeing. I feel like I’m going to explode. Why the hell are NQ salaries being cut? This can’t be happening. I’m having a bloody breakdown. I don’t want to believe the world is so messed up. I want a future to believe in. I cannot bloody deal with this right now. It wasn’t supposed to be like this, I thought the economy seemed to be recovering???? This is so messed up.



Calm down and get back to your revision.


Just let it all out.

Breathe dawg


Sweaty toiler

Excellent, 10/10 for the bantz.




can someone please give any indication of what to expect and what tasks you were given if you have already completed it or are undergoing one at the moment.

The firm I have a vac scheme with has not given us any info at all or even a timetable of what to expect and it starts in a few days


Joe's Mum

name and shame, who is it?



You better delete that comment. Big accusation to make



Delete this now I’m telling you



Delete this



^ everyone please report this I urge you



Delete this I won’t tell you twice



I have a good feeling which firm you’re on about as mine also starts on Monday but we’ve not been told anything



Lmao imagine being in a Regional office and earning half of what your London colleagues earn.

Anyone know what the difference in target hours are between the two types of office?



Making almost 50k in Birmingham is literally the equivalent of double in london after you take living expenses into account



Is that 50k a month? Because 50k is not a real salary.



What you get in London for a 2 bed flat/apartment can get you a 6 bed detached home in Birmingham


Smethwick Chode

If only… Can tell you lot have never ventured north of Bedfordshire



There’s no ‘if only’ about it – this is true. Decent 2 bed flats in London (and I’m talking zone 3-6, not central) is around £1,300 + a month. Usually closer to £2k a month.



But it is in Birmingham. Which is shit.


Big D--k Lathy

And to imagine a few months ago there was a rumour that HL was going to increase NQ pay to 100k. Hah- FF , US or bust baby



Few NQs are worth the money.

“At my US law firm, I clock about 2500 billable a year. I tend to get in anywhere between 8:30 to 9:45. I tend not to leave before 10. I don’t usually have a lunch break besides popping down to Pret or wherever and eating my food at my desk. All nighters are common. I work just about every weekend. Every weekend out of 2 or 3 I’ll be in the office for at least quite a full day. All of us are like that here. We don’t break. We don’t peruse Facebook or watch movies or do online shopping – which 99/100 students in a library will be doing most of the time they’re there. We just work, work, work and do more work. Counsel are just like that too.” Extract from TSR Jan 2020



This pandemic has been an exercise in separating the top firms from the rest. Future applicants would be wise to look back and consider those who retained their trainees and didn’t cut pay versus those who thought it appropriate to take back £5k from trainees which is probably less than their partners have spent on a Friday jolly.



eg Slaughters


True Talk

Slaughters has been exposed for a long time. Everyone has been saying they are silver circle standard but you are right that this has been a catalyst in exposing them as it’s more obvious now



If we’re being honest if Slaughters is Silver Circle it wouldn’t even be the best silver circle firm out there…



Travers Smith and Macfarlanes are easily at the top of Silver Circle.

Ngl DLA Piper even tho it’s not SC is also up there considering 80k nq for reasonable hours and decent work


Agreed, applicants get caught up in the ‘prestige’ of Slaughters. This impending crash is going to remind them cash is king.

Burst it out

Lmao what about Assbursts?

Big boi

I don’t think the Slaughters partners earning nearly double what most other MC partners make and doing the biggest deals in the city give a sh*t about teenage legal cheek commentators taking a break from arranging their highlighters to pipe up and say that Slaughters isn’t a great firm



you clearly do tho


The great advantage of the multi-specialism approach that we take is that we can adapt when market forces change. Our lawyers are, of course, primarily known for their corporate work. But their breadth of experience allows them to take on work in other areas. For example, we can deploy a large proportion of our lawyers from other teams on restructuring work now and arguably offer a far higher level of service than dedicated restructuring lawyers at other firms.


Reality Check

Multi specialism isn’t anything special. It’s basically just a pretentious way of saying that you cover all types of work within a particular area which is also what most other firms offer but they don’t have to make it their brand because they have other things going for them



You could not be more wrong. It enables our lawyers to work on a wide range of deals. Name another firm where a lawyer could work on a high profile football transfer and a multi billion dollar merger in the space of a couple of weeks. Plus, if you want to be surrounded by the brightest minds, I would argue that no other firm comes close.

Get a grip

People being redeployed into restructuring v people that specialise in restructuring.

Hmmm wonder who will be more experienced in restructuring…



Either way, restructuring is for those that weren’t good enough for commercial or commercial litigation, so that gap would not be that great.


So you can adapt when market forces change but still felt the need to cut salaries to save just 150k for the year?


Lord Judge

lol mate I can honestly not think of a more indifferent firm than Hogan Lovells, even Boodle Hatfield has more character than HL



You lost me when you said brightest minds at HL, as if the brightest don’t go for the MC or US firm.


Anonymous Hogan Lovells insider

Only 15/27 HL fourth-seaters in London have been offered an NQ job in the first qualification round. Final retention figure likely to be below 60%…


Anonymous Hogan Lovells insider

Can confirm this is correct.


Fellow Anon HL Insider

This is sad but true.



Well it will definitely be below 60 given only 56 got offers…


Anonymous Hogan Lovells insider

@Maths, not necessarily because there is going to be a second round for one or two positions that were not filled during the first round.



Apparently IP is a fairly recession proof area of law. Is this reflected in firms?

I’ve recently come across Patent and Trade Mark attorneys. Does anyone know much about the attorney route? Are they well paid? Why is there a separate profession for Intellectual Property?


Trudy (troods)

You have come to the wrong place to ask this sort of question Mr Undergrad



100% untrue unfortunately. Our team is band 1 and completely dead.



Band 1 rofl lmao who gives a shet mate



Chambers, clearly…



Lmao yeah, once the firm cuts them a phat cheque they’ll care

Do u even law brah?

Use your initiative



Thanks, but a Patent Attorney is an IP lawyer…I suspect you mean IP solicitor.

I did use my initiative but thought some real life/first hand knowledge may assist me in forming a well rounded conclusion.



Yes this can be a good route into practicing IP. That said, it’s important to note the vast majority of patent & trademark attorneys have solid science/engineering/technology backgrounds. They are well paid but not MC/US rates.



Thank you, very helpful.


Also FBD Autumn 2020 NQ

Poor form


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