Latham & Watkins posts 96% trainee retention score and keeps NQ pay at £145k

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23 out of 24

Latham & Watkins’ London office

The London office of US giant Latham & Watkins has posted a solid autumn 2020 trainee retention score of 96%.

The LA-founded legal player has retained 23 of its 24 final-seat rookies. All are on permanent deals.

Latham also confirmed its eye-watering newly qualified (NQ) salary of $190,000 (roughly £145,000) will remain unchanged despite the economic uncertainty brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

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A growing number of City players have cut junior lawyer pay in recent weeks, including four out of five members of the magic circle.

Legal Cheek’s Firms Most List shows Latham dishes out around 24 training contracts each year, with trainees earning a salary of £46,000 in year one, rising to £50,000 in year two.

Last week we reported that fellow US outfits Mayer Brown and Akin Gump had recorded retention results of 70% and 83% respectively.

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This is the firm to be at. Not just in terms of top whack but in terms of prestige. I’d argue Latham is more of a full-service firm compared to the likes of Kirkland who seem to be private equity obsessed.


K&E Associate

You’ll understand the obsession when you are cracking out two buy side deals before smashing your model girlfriend and jumping into the lambo to pop into the city for a three martini lunch



Can do all of that with the same pay at Latham?



Why would you want to be at a full service firm? It just means you’re surrounded by betas who can’t handle the pressure of working for a proper team.



Spoken like a true fresher.



More options upon qualification



Less people leave Latham too. Latham is way more selective and it’s growth more sustainable.

Tons of people constantly leaving Kirkland as it has such a bad reputation.


Take a look at yourself

State of this. The game’s officially gone. We’ve reached the point where law students commenters, with zero experience, are dismissing Kirkland & Ellis, the law firm with the second highest PEP in the world. Probably a good job you’d never get hired there anyway, mate.



If you were to go on, they released an article stating they and CC have the most black lawyers in the top city firms.

On another note, when was there NQ rate £145k? Thought it was £130k?



Calm down Jere. No one cares



Did anyone ask? Keep it to yourself bro


Emily T

Completely irrelevant





So legal cheek has contradicted itself with their firms list?



Can also confirm the 1 who hasn’t been kept on was offered a role just not in the department they wanted


A non

If true, takes a brave (or obscenely wealthy) soul to turn down a 6 figure NQ role at a world top 10 law firm in this market.


bob geldof

yes and no. whilst turning down any job in this market is bold, if the department wasn’t what they wanted to qualify into you can see why they’d leave.



Anyone know if they take NQ from other firms? Asking for a friend…



I heard they were hiring for R&I a few months ago. So yes.



So a Latham NQ earns over £20k more than me, FML.


Regional lawyer in poverty (spare change please?)

…and about 100,000 more than me.


Peasant Paralegal

And about £120k more than me… a bit more actually but too lazy to calculate. Guess thats why they earn more.



We haven’t even counted COLA which some associates receive as part of their remuneration package



why only some and not all?


Pondering by a lake

Legal cheek pulling random numbers again…considering they paid £124k and then hiked to £130k how was the £145k number above (which in the past LC has reported as £146k or £143k) generated this time?


LegalCheek probably won't post this because they're babies

How much do they get paid at legal cheek? I heard it’s magic circle partner level?


Shafted 24th Trainee

Feel like pure sh*t just want LW back x


Diligent editor

*Looks at another earlier article where LC erroneously stated that LW pay NQs £145k, itself based on an earlier erroneous article stating the same (etc), in order to confirm that LW does indeed currently pay its NQs £145k*



Obviously the actual pounds earned is up and down depending on USD GBP currency fluctuations if it’s linked to US lawyer rates.



Don’t some firms use a fixed rate?


FX rate connoisseur

Indeed most firms do.

Word on the street that L&W has used a five year rolling average, rather than spot, but the street has no knowledge of when that average was last set, at what level, and whether this is still followed.

But LC has a history of making wrong assumptions about the basis on which many US firms use exchange rates to convert the Cravath scale into U.K. salaries.



What do you mean when it was last set? It’s a rolling average



Disappointed at the lack of salty argument in the comments of this article


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