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Linklaters bumps NQ solicitor salaries after Covid cuts

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£92.5k plus discretionary bonus

Linklaters has slightly increased the salaries for its newly qualified (NQ) solicitors having cut them by 10% in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

The magic circle firm confirmed NQ pay now sits at £92,500 per annum, plus a discretionary performance bonus, which is up from the £90,000 approved last year. The pay increase is effective from May 2021.

In the summer of last year, Links tightened the belt on London NQ salaries, mirroring the approach taken by several other City outfits. NQs at Links saw their pay packets drop from a minimum of £100,000, comprised of salary and bonus, to £90,000.

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Links isn’t the first major law firm to bump salaries after making cuts in response to the pandemic.

Slaughter and May upped total NQ pay earlier this year from £87,000 to £90,500 — a sum which falls short of the firm’s pre-Covid package of £92,000. Clifford Chance restored junior lawyer packages to £100,000 after reducing total remuneration to £94,500, while Allen & Overy bumped NQ pay to £95,000, made up of salary and sign-on bonus, following an earlier decision to reduce this to £90,000. The remaining member of the magic circle, Freshfields, decided not to cut NQ pay.

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24 Comments

FattusWhackus

The scramble by magic circle firms to trim NQ pay last year was rather undignified and made all the more embarrassing by the failure of any US firms to follow suit, and in some cases actually raising salaries.

Anon

Good to see that the Brits are paying for the sins of colonialism.

Living like peasants in their own land.

God bless the Americans.

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Johnny Sins

Doesn’t change the fact that Linklaters has the lowest PEP amongst MC firms.

Anon

But you need to also look at how many equity partners Vs salary partners…. At links they are almost all full equity

Anon

At links they are essentially full equity so you can’t really use that as a measure.

(Those that aren’t equity partners are in jurisdictions where it doesn’t make tax sense, but are paid the same as they would be otherwise)

Anon

The point is you cannot just compare PEP you also need to factor in the likelihood of you earning that. Some firms are moving away from full equity which is bumping up PEP but isn’t necessarily a reflection of overall profit going up, just sharing the pie between fewer people.

mct

Who gives a toss? People on legalcheek arguing about PEP is pathetic – no one on here is a partner, so how much PEP a partner takes home is irrelevant

cockroach

Basically every trainee at a UK outfit is looking to move to a US firm on quali and firms are delusional if they don’t realise that

Rolon

Not really, most of these firms have had close to 100% retention scores this round. Most people move after getting the NQ training and it is much easier to lateral then

Lambo catalogue browser

Indeed, just bagged a lovely biglaw slot for 09/21. Living the dream. yEs tHis si REAL. NO I ma not a FREshr. Yes that was on purpose. H8rs gnna h8,

Touker

As long as the MC firms continually insist on forcing employees to work US hours for Silver Circle salaries, they’re not going to stem the outflow of personnel.

Anon

Cant wait for all the sh*t posting about MC firms on this thread from all the people at mid market firms. Cant all be US associates for the amount of trolls on this site

Maybe a US associate

You don’t have to be a chef to know something tastes like shit…

Old Guy

What if you’re a mid market associate or work inhouse? Targets are a lot lower, salary only slightly lower. Partnership prospects much better too, as is the prospect of running your own legal team as GC or Head of Legal. I think the point is the MC is selling itself on a prestige that no longer exists, and the most ambitious associates and young partners are itching to jump ship. The problem is real, the average young banking/finance partner at the Magic Circle who earns £250-£400k can at least double their salary moving to the US firm. We really underestimate how much of the finance work in London these US firms are hoovering up and it will only get worse.

Big wig

Which US firms are hoovering finance work? The top tier finance market is literally A&O, CC, Links and FBD plus Latham, K&E and STB. If generous you can add Milbank, Weil and in time Cahill Gordon but the rest really are not a threat in the slightest to any of the above firms.

Ed

Bit embarrassing that there are non MC firms with higher pay

Wig Wearer

I find all the wages in question surprisingly low considering the hours you do.

BigWonga

Wong Wonga Big ME Like it.

Anon

About £100/month after tax. Not much really when your net is already pretty high

A

It gets a g of Gucci.

Anon

The Magic Circle has become meaningless, the kudos of working there has disappeared. The fact that you are flogged for below par salary is clearly evident

A

It does weed out those with class and the likes of you.

MC trainee

Where are all my MC trainees who are ready to jump ship at? Proletariat assemble.

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