Hogan Lovells cuts NQ pay and freezes salaries for some trainees

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By Aishah Hussain on

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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