Reed Smith puts NQ salary back up to £90k

By on

Firm raised pay in January, then cut it to £79,500 in June amid Covid economy fears, before moving it back up again to round out rollercoaster remuneration year

The London office of global giant Reed Smith has put pay for its newly qualified (NQ) solicitors back up to £90,000, having cut salaries in June amid fears about the economic effect of the Covid-19 pandemic.

It’s been something of a rollercoaster year for Reed Smith rookies, who saw their remuneration jump in January from £77,000 to £90,000, fall to £79,500 in June, before recovering to close out 2020. The increase is already effective, having been included in junior lawyer pay packets from last month.

Sandy Thomas, Reed Smith’s global managing partner, said:

“Throughout the pandemic, the firm has been dedicated to protecting the health and safety of our people and supporting our clients around the globe. Because of the incredibly hard work, shared sacrifice and commitment of our people, we are pleased to announce that we are fully restoring compensation to the 100% level for all of our lawyers and professional staff.”

The money news comes as Reed Smith revealed it has kept on 12 out of 12 of its qualifying trainees — a retention rate of 100%.

Reed Smith’s decision to restore pay comes after Clifford Chance returned its NQ salary to £100,000, compromising salary and bonus. The magic circle player — which doesn’t report its NQ base rate — had reduced total remuneration to £94,500 in June.

Allen & Overy and Hogan Lovells have also both recently reversed NQ pay cuts, as the impact of Covid economic fallout on big global law firms has proven less bad than initially feared.

For all the latest commercial awareness info, and advance notification of Legal Cheek's careers events:

Sign up to the Legal Cheek Hub



It isn’t safe for you here. You should run. As fast as you can. There will be all sorts of trouble if you stay.


Real talk

Seriously, how bad is their cash flow that they’re having to change NQ salaries every few months?! Most firms absorb the hit by altering partner distributions which is where the real money is



Not ideal but understandable from Reed Smith. In spring it looked like there might be a big crash but that hasn’t transpired, thankfully, so they have done the right thing and corrected their earlier decision. Lots of other firms did the same.


Andrew Jones

That’s cute, they thought something major was going to happen and it didn’t, so they reversed it – Cute.

a 10k salary difference is still not cute, in fact its an orange flag.

I wonder if they will hire back all those lawyers and support staff they fired and let go? and be like – JK, we were just messing when we let you go 5 months ago haha. We were just pretending to be a toxic firm. (now this is your red flag)



Remember those people we fired 5 months ago? Well good news and bad news:

They won’t be coming back. (aww…)

Their salaries will be distributed to you instead. (Yay!)

You’ll also be taking on all their work and we won’t be hiring for a while. (….ah.)



Isn’t it true that at this firm senior associates earn c.within 30k of NQs?


Fleet Street

That’s pretty much every magic circle firm bar freshfields too



What’s the case at Freshfields?

I was under the impression MC senior associates are on 140-180k?



At CC, senior assoc at 4.5 PQE likely on around 130k + bonus.



Same at a&o, which is lower than a cravath scale NQ gets in London


Senior assoc starts at 120k at CC. Source: I am one.


About the same as A&O at Links


Seems a ridiculous thing to have done over £10k.



It might seem that way but that’s a term of schooling for a partner’s child. And the value add of private schooling has really been evident during lockdown.



I’ve seen a lot of things on a few web boards about Reed Smith and people seem to have an especially vitriolic hatred for them. Are there historic reasons for this or is this just trolling?


No one

Cool, so are they going to hire back all those folks they made redundant, or those NQs they told couldn’t be retained because of money issues? No? Didn’t think so.


Comments are closed.

Related Stories