A&O ups junior lawyer pay to £100k — includes £10k sign on bonus

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Follows similar move by Clifford Chance

Allen & Overy’s London office

Allen & Overy has increased the salaries of its newly qualified (NQ) lawyers in London.

The firm’s new associates will now earn £100,000, plus a discretionary bonus, matching the same six-figure sum announced by Clifford Chance last week. A&O confirmed associates will receive £10,000 as a lump sum on signing with the firm.

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Last summer the magic circle player cut pay from a minimum of £100,000, comprised of salary and sign-on bonus, to £90,000 in response to the coronavirus. Several months later it increased total compensation to £95,000 — £5,000 short of its pre-pandemic rate.

Other UK firms to increase pay in recent days include Ashurst, which upped NQ base rates to £90,000, a 5% increase from £85,500, and Clifford Chance, which boosted junior lawyer pay to £100,000, up from a previous base rate of roughly £93,000. Elsewhere, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner increased NQ salaries from £80,000 to £88,000 — a rise of 10%. Expect other City firms to make rises of their own in the coming weeks.

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Any news on whether Freshfields likely to increase?



Lol no – will claim already “top of the market” and leave it until, perhaps, another UK firm overtakes.



Sign on bonus seems a good deal, take the 10k in month 1 then move laterally to a US firm



Surely it’s payable contingent on staying for a short period?



likely a year and clawed back on a pro rata’d basis if you leave before then



Comments like the one you replied to are written by students with no idea how the world of professional employment works.



What are the new salaries for 1-2pqe at A&O?



No changes to associate salaries across the board.


A&O J Assoc

A&O associate here. No change at all. Surprised legalcheek has a good spin on this – people are fuming.



The level of anger at A&O today is palpable. Just wait until they release their bumper annual results – will be a full-scale revolt!


Another A&O Associate

It’s almost like management wants us to leave!

A&O does genuinely have a good culture – I enjoy working with my team but the comp arrangements make it clear management doesn’t value its rank and file at all.

Bare minimum every year compensation-wise (with creative bonus payments) so they can claim to match “competitors”…

A field day for headhunters coldcalling A&O associates I think!


Another A&O Associate

Yes – I’ve already had a few calls this afternoon.

A&O Banking NQ

Indeed – but at least we’re getting a bigger increase than the trainees, who are getting a whole £50/month extra this year! /s

wonder how many more departures we’ll see from our practice groups this year to US firms



Got any numbers for the other year groups?


A&O S Associate

Confirmed, people are fuming. And doubtless the firm’s financial results will shortly be presented, yet again showing the “resilience” of the business after the most demanding professional year in recent times. Oh well. Message received!



You can fuming, you can huff and you can puff, but still the vast majority will stay because they are hour gimps.



That’s remarkable as the CC raises were huge, much larger than NQ raises



Anyone think Links will follow suit or are they just stingy 😑


Grumpy associate looks for the exit

Huge issues at the magic circle now in terms of salary bunching. Third, fourth and fifth year associates are not paid much more than NQs, factoring in the sign-on bonus. The natives are growing very restless.



Absolutely. Especially when you consider that the marginal rate of tax between £100k to £125k is extremely high because you lose your £12.5k Personal Allowance. Essentially, MC NQs-2PQE will barely see any difference in their take-home pay year on year. I imagine a lot of MC NQs will jump ship to US firms as soon as possible after qualification. After the recent salary hikes, 1PQEs at US firms are making £156k



If only there were enough US jobs to match the exodus…



The 60% plus marginal tax rate between £100k and £125k is a disgrace. The government ramps up and up the personal allowance to pander to swing voters, to the point the average earner now only pays an effective rate of 9% income tax.



Not at CC


MC final seat trainee

I believe a few of us in my intake interviewed / are interviewing at US firms but it’s not as if they welcome us with open arms. It’s still a tough process and it’s probably easier to move after 1 PQE when you are a less risky hire


A&O mid-level

Why would you move before you qualify? The training at a MC firm is much better, the hours will generally be a bit better. The issue at the MC is not with NQ wages but with wages at the 2PQE+ level. Suggest staying at a MC and settling for a year or two before testing the waters.


UK vs US

The problem is not the NQ salary, the problem is how little salary progression there is. How much a senior associate does with just £40-60k more, while US NQs start at £140k and after 8 years are on a £250k base.



Indeed, the senior associate gets taxed a lot more on that extra dosh too so relative take home pay is only about £1k higher a month despite doing considerably tougher work.



Any news on Slaughter and May?


SM Junior Assoc

We’ll be lucky if we get a slap in the face and a “thx”.



Can any of the A&O Associates posting above confirm what the salaries for 1pqe – 3 pqe are?


A&O Assoc

No change at all.



Which means?


Roger That

It means they have remained the same. They haven’t changed. Imagine you have two cars; one is red and one is blue. The next day the red car is still red, and the blue car is still blue. It’s the same concept. They are the same colour. They haven’t changed.



Yet here at MC 5PQE got a 30k raise …



Any news on Slaughters?



No because they are not a magic circle firm.



I can smell the rejection on this one.



A&O is a great firm but they have compressed pay way, way too much at higher associate levels. Seniors must be livid. Wrong result.



How much does a senior associate make? Like the most senior you can be as an associate? £180k?


A&O Banking NQ

The normally very (overly) chatty SA in my subgroup has been on radio silence all day and hasn’t called or messaged anyone about food, the footie or other random stuff, so yes, yes they are livid.


A&O Associate #24601

“A&O ups junior lawyer pay by £500”

Fixed the title for you there. The effective raise is £500 since our total comp includes the Covid bonus.

UK inflation at 2.1% (potentially up to 4% this year) and salaries are frozen. Shameful.

Look down, Look down
Don’t look management in the eye
Look down, Look down,
You’re here until you die


Woe is me

Everyone is angry at the salary announcement, but calm your farm buddy. You can leave any time you want to a plethora of other firms. No one is keeping you at A&O.



You guys should have just invested in dodgecoin in Dec 2020. Made a risk and it paid off. Now I’m off this crazy law career life loool


curious boi

So 90k base plus a one off bonus?


another a&o associate

I think the salaries are frozen across the board but the bonuses are very healthy (in my group anyway) – so I guess the firm is concentrating on overall income rather than the salary. And hoping that associates will do the same.


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