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Slaughter and May ups NQ solicitor salaries to £90.5k — but rises fall short of pre-pandemic pay levels

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Trainees also handed increases

Slaughter and May has upped the salaries of its newly qualified (NQ) solicitors, after opting to cut pay last summer in response to the pandemic. But today’s fresh uplifts fall short of the firm’s pre-COVID pay level.

The magic circle player announced NQ pay will now total £90,500, up £3,500 (or 4%) from £87,000. Last spring, Legal Cheek reported that Slaughters had reduced the base rate of NQs, from £92,000 to £87,000, to curb the financial impact of the pandemic.

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The firm also confirmed that from March, trainees will earn a salary of £47,000 in year one, rising to £52,500 in year two. Rookie pay currently sits at £45,000 and £51,000 respectively.

The salary uplifts come just months after the Bunhill Row player upped bonuses for associates — 2% higher than the previous year — in recognition of their efforts during the pandemic. It also reinstated the partner distributions it suspended in April.

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49 Comments

Edward

Upside: salaries increased

Downside: you have to work at Slaughter and May.

(73)(127)

LOL

It’s okay you can apply for a training contract in the next cycle after a rejection. Back to first year contract law you go.

Edward

I’ve already got a TC with a better MC firm, thanks for the concern though.

Ta ra

Unwashed High St Solicitor

Would rather carry on working at my high street firm than move to Slaughters.

Anonymagic

In case you haven’t noticed, they are arguably the most elite and best M&A law firm in the entire English jurisdiction… so yea, not really a downside! I agree that pay is not amazing but you will never work on average the same hours as US law firms peers.

Disclaimer: I don’t work at Slaughters, this is just an (almost) objective take on the firm.

HR

The jig is up grad rec.

Anon

They are the most elite marketers in the business, agreed. I’d love to see their actual PEP figures. I would bet a lot that it’s in line with the other MC firms. They certainly pay their staff in line woth (or less than) the others while stoking industry hearsay about superior profitability.

US firm chad

Complete hogwash. If you want ‘decent hours’ don’t go into a big law career. The peasants at slaughters are probs bringing back 65/70k after tax. Meaning Akin, Sullivan etc are nearer 95k and that’s before bonuses are even considered (can be £10-40k extra). Kids go big go American.

Curious George

What are your chances at joining Slaughters as an external NQ?

Joe

They pride themselves in the fact that they don’t do lateral hires.

The partners at the firm all trained there. People at slaughters work their way up the ladder in the firm as they want it to be as fair as possible for the lawyers at the firm who have been there for years rather than reward newcomers joining externally.

Hope that helps.

Spam Gammon

S&M’s website is currently advertising 2 positions for qualified lawyers.

Person with knowledge of the matter

They do it occasionally – they took an NQ from my firm when I joined as a trainee a couple of years ago. She joined their Finance team, IIRC.

Sabrina

Not true – there are current partners at SM who joined as associate lateral hires.

Realist

That’s rubbish. They took an NQ from Linklaters last year. OK, I accept that’s a lateral move within the Magic Circle, rather than say from a silver circle or regional firm, but it demonstrates that the assertion that they do not hire laterally is incorrect. (It may be correct for partners, but that’s very far above my pay grade – I don’t intend to stick around long enough in London to make senior associate, let alone partner anywhere).

Insider

Don’t, it’s a fetid Oxbridge gulag packed with Toff coomers.

(42)(101)

LOL

I have no idea what this means but I love it.

anonymous

You could learn a thing or two from these posh Oxbridge boys, and then you wouldn’t be so chippy.

Bill

People at slaughters who have been there for years are struggling to work their way up… can’t imagine what it would be like for an external joiner

Trainee

Disputes and Finance have both had lateral hires at NQ in recent intakes – so definitely possible!

Anon

I know someone who did a few years ago from a mid tier US firm before moving back soon after

Answer me

At what level ? Partner ?

Anon

NQ

Anon

People don’t make a move as partner and then move back a few months later.

NQ

What would be the usual reason for someone choosing to work here over a firm such as, say, Fried Frank, Kirkland, Latham, Weil, Baker Botts, Willkie, etc. (depending on practice area). Partnership prospects surely no worse, quality of clients (aside from maybe blue chip M&A) no worse, etc. Genuine question.

Kaka

Rofl Baker Botts, wtf even is that lmao

NQ

Mega whack US oil & gas/arbitration firm London office.

Topkek

Heh, £110k at NQ ain’t mega whack son. Now go back to your lecture

Lolcannon

Yes, a somewhat reputable satellite of a second-tier regional US firm from Texas. Very good, thanks for the marketing effort son.

lol

To throw Kirland and Latham in the mix with Fried Frank, Baker Botts, Willkie and to an extent Weil shows a complete lack of awareness of the London market (and US firms’ relative presence)

Rupert Winklebottom-Parker IV

You’re asking that as if those US firms have an endless supply of vacancies.

Also one motivation is no target hours compared to 1900-2000. People on this firm like to tell themselves US hours are the same as U.K. firms. That’s simply not true for a good chunk of them.

Chance Clifford

I work magic circle and bill 2000 hours a year. Seems to be pretty standard – I don’t think I’m working much harder than anyone else.

Anon

Did anyone else find the interviewers at Slaughters needlessly unpleasant? I have no problem with the usual grilling, but the people at Slaughters were just obnoxious

MC 3rd seat trainee

Everyone I know who has been interviewed at slaughters (including those who were offered TCs and Vac schemes) have all said the same thing you did.

The interview process at Slaughters entirely comes down to who interviews you. Some have a lenient interviewers whereas others get harsh bullies who seem to get a thrill out of interrogating students for their grades and other minor things. It’s ridiculous.

I had the same experience in my TC interview with them, I got an offer but I rejected it and accepted a MC offer elsewhere. I can’t imagine working for a firm like them.

Anon

Yes, I’m going back a few years now but I was interviewed by one of their Grad Rec partners and they were pretty rude. It also felt like they were looking for a fairly narrowly-defined type of person (which I guess looking back now having worked opposite them, they were).

Person

My experience was fairly positive – the partners grilled me on some points, but weren’t unpleasant. They also didn’t dwell on it when I had misunderstood something in the article we were discussing.

I got offered a training contract, which I accepted.

I think it’s probably just quite variable.

Charles

My experience was positive, too. Their ideal recruit is public school and Oxbridge, and they cannot be blamed for that. People from that background are very bright, polished and confident, and engage well with the firm’s client base.

Magic Circle Cartel

This leaves Linklaters as the only Magic Circle firm to not have reinstated (either in part or in full) the NQ covid pay cut. What a surprise that they’re the last to react as usual.

Bloke

You don’t know what you’re talking about.

Not all of the partners trained at the firm, though most did. Some were lateral hires as associates before becoming partners. But, in the London office, there has been only one lateral hire at partner level – Dan Schaffer.

There are a fair number of lateral hire associates around, though perhaps not as many as at other firms. And they do well – I’ve never seen a whiff of anyone being treated worse for training at another firm.

If there is a position available and you think Slaughters is for you, then I would say go for it. There are plenty of negatives, but the commenters aren’t on the money.

Anon

Slaughter and May is the City’s most elite law firm. This is because of the quality of its lawyers, who are in the vast majority privately educated and Oxbridge – in other words, they are taken from the ranks of the cleverest and best educated people in the country.

(917)(427)

Concerned friend x

I don’t think this comment is satire, which is quite depressing. Correlating being privately educated with being “cleverest” and “best” shows a profound lack of understanding of the world works (and that, possibly, the OP is either: (i) a bit dense; or (ii) parroting what someone else at a recruitment fair told them).

I’m also not sure the assertion that Slaughters is the most “elite” practice stands up to scrutiny these days either. It may be cosy with the FTSE 100, but it lags *significantly* behind the likes of Kirkland and Latham on revenue, profits, RPL. Don’t even get me started on the difference in pay.

Beyond big-ticket M&A, a lot of its other practices are outranked by those at its “less presitgious” rivals.

Anon

You are being dishonest. Of course privately educated people are the best educated in the country, given the massive disparity in quality between the private and state systems. And it is beyond reasoned argument that Oxbridge take the intellectual cream of each generation.

Andrew

Well done for spam liking your own comment

anonymous

Or it could be that people know that the state education system is rubbish and the cleverest go to Oxbridge.

S&M

ROFL, intellectual cream of each generation. Yeah, cream shot out of my stiff one eye 😂😂😂

Anon

Back to your High Street firm, Warwick “Uni” boy.

akscdnc

hahahaha who is spam liking all the positive comments? Slaughters grad rec surely don’t have this much time on their hands.

Charles

As if some pathetic slaughters fanboy spammed the likes/dislikes button on the comments.

You can tell it’s the same person writing all the comments in defence of slaughters lol.

When will these law students/grads realise that these law firms are not your life. You don’t have to fight tooth and nail to defend them online, it’s just a job jheez

Anon

They’ve done it again. I don’t think they realise that it makes Slaughters look even worse.

Anon

looks like Slaughters has its grad rec team hitting the comments section hard today…

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