New era of home-working could spell the end for sky-high City lawyer salaries, Big Four legal boss warns

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By CJ McKinney on

PwC partner Ed Stacey reckons it’s getting harder to justify regional pay differences

If everyone in a firm is mostly lawyering from their living room, what’s the point of paying people massive salaries to live in London?

That’s the question being asked by Ed Stacey, head of legal at PwC.

In an interview with Legal Week (£), Stacey says that it’s “quite difficult” to justify huge salary differences for solicitors at different branches of the same firm if everyone is working from home anyway.

Stacey, a partner at the legal arm of the accounting and consultancy juggernaut, reckons that solicitors working outside of the City of London could start to question their often much lighter pay packets.

Law firm salaries are available on Legal Cheek’s Firms Most List — but the headline ranking is by London wages. Click through to a given firm’s profile, and you’ll often see a lower regional rate in the fine print.

The 2021 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

Stacey told the website: “Some of the London salaries have got pretty rich compared to some of the regional salaries, and I think when people realise that the job can be as effectively done from home, it’s quite difficult to begin to justify that huge gap in salaries.”

He added that wage differences between London and other big cities like Manchester would come in for particular scrutiny if lawyers in and around the capital aren’t having to pay for their commute.

Many City firms have already moved to trim London salaries for their newly qualified lawyers, although others have bucked the trend. Earlier this week, US giant White & Case gave NQs a £25,000 pay rise, taking them to £130,000.

House prices in London are twice the UK average and general consumer prices are 7% higher in the capital, according to the Office for National Statistics.

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