Ashurst boosts NQ lawyer pay to £90,000

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5% uplift

Ashurst has upped the salaries of its newly qualified (NQ) solicitors.

The silver circle player confirmed junior lawyer base rates now sit at £90,000, a boost of 5% from £85,500.

A firm spokesperson said “we carefully monitor and review our pay structures each year to attract and retain talent and remain competitive”. The new £90k sum came into effect in May and excludes bonus.

Legal Cheek’s Firms Most List shows today’s money move puts Ashurst on a pay par with the likes of Hogan Lovells, Mayer Brown and Reed Smith.

The 2021 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

Ashurst offers around 40 training contacts annually, with trainees receiving a salary of £47,000 in year one, rising to £52,000 in year two.

The pay uplift comes just days after we revealed Clifford Chance had boosted junior lawyer base rates to £100,000, up from a previous salary (and Legal Cheek estimate) of roughly £93,000. CC’s NQs are eligible for a bonus on top of the new six-figure sum.

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Nice. Now US firms only pay 1.6x more. This is actually grim, lads. Don’t work for an Australian firm. They’re used to paying low salaries because of how sub-par that continent is.


I don't know why I bother

It’s a British firm you dimwit. What did you expect Ashurst to boost NQ pay to £140k? Nothing about Ashurst’s Australian merger has any consequence on the salary of its London associates.


Look at this flog and laugh

You seem to have some pathological disdain for Australia. Consistently unsuccessful in trying to bag Sheilas at the Walkabout, have we?



You have to wonder how firms like Links can justify paying £92.5k with their PEP when Ashurst are willing to pay £90k.

Silver Circle firms (as much as these terms are redundant, but putting that aside as we are on LC) are willing to pay to attract talent, whereas MC firms are seemingly riding on the tails of their reputation to attract Oxbridge types. Soon they’ll wake up to the delicious USDA cheeseburger sitting on their doorstep, and MC firms are going to have to put up the cash.


SC World

Agree. A lot of respect to Ashurst for doing this. Links would have to pay almost double to be in the same position.

In my view, with the current salary raises the SC are now more desirable than the MC.

Marginally lower pay, considerably less hours!


Red and Blue

Don’t agree with the less hours part. Corporate and finance associates here are pulling 1800 to 2000 hour years too, but getting considerably less than hitting those targets at a US firm. I agree the culture is less cutthroat perhaps.



1800 hours would be a very quiet year at a US firm.



BCLP at 88k as well.

There’s no excuse for Links, Slaughters etc. to not go to 100k without bonus at minimum.


Top of the SC

Very solid firm. This is one of the cases where you will earn less (compared to US firms) but will work considerably more reasonable hours than MC firms.

Some of its departments are on par with MC firms commanding a high level of respect and, with this level of remuneration, it makes it a very viable option for the most talented students who wish to retain a semblance of normal life.


Kenny Lamar

The economy is healing, NQ bank accounts are healing.



What’s the firms average hours like though? I imagine if your in finance or corporate, you’ll be working crazy hours regardless.

Also that game test they do for applications is quite ridiculous lol.


Polly, Associate

Undergrads needs to stop thinking like this. It’s not so much that at Ashurst you’ll finish at 8pm and at a US you’ll finish at 11pm. It doesn’t really work like that. Work is task based.

Nevertheless, it’s the culture that differentiates these firms. It’s the cancellation of holidays, consistent weekend work, always on culture/keep your phone on you at all times, respond to client emails with solutions within 15mins or you get a strike ( cough white&case cough), it’s the get on with it don’t ask questions training, it’s by 5PQE impress or get booted out etc.



You get pretty much all your weekends and odd evenings, two things you would lose at a US firm.



Do people really think that every US lawyer works 7 days a week? This “weekend” point is parroted every day by clueless grads who haven’t even been within 100m of an actual lawyer.



Yes transactional work goes all through the weekend (especially when foreign jurisdictions are involved) and at a US firm you are expected to be responsive all weekend whereas at SC firms it can wait till Monday. Source – lawyer who worked at both.



Sorry to disappoint, real lawyer here (trained SC, moved to a US firm, now at a boutique). By weekend work, it doesn’t mean you work a full 7 days a week. You, instead will do a few hours here and there on a Saturday and Sunday. Weekend work is not mandatory, however, it effectively becomes so due to the deadlines you need to meet.

In fact it would seem you’ve ousted yourself to be a “clueless grad”. My best advice to you would be to get yourself a few mentors at a few firms, so you can get a true understanding about what the working culture is like.



Sorry to disappoint. Boutique lawyers aren’t real lawyers.

Old Guy

Good advice and spot on. To be fair weekend work in the age of working from home is not so bad, just log on in the mornings on Saturday and Sunday, but i get your wider point.

@Anon 1.22pm – what a stupid statement. Litigation boutiques like Candey, Boies, Quinn Emmanuel, Fietta etc. are top notch. Projects boutiques like Trinity are very well respected, and IP boutiques like Keltie are good. I can see many reasons why someone would move from a firm with 200 partners to one with 10. Maybe if you’re into M&A and want to work on deals that make the FT then fine stay at a big firm, but more money and control as a litigator in a boutique is certainly a good thing.


Thx Polly

Ashurst Trainee

Macs and Travers where you at?


Macs Equity Partner

Oh, just enjoying the £1.9m PEP – guess the partners at your shop know how it is…Oh wait? Perhaps not….I suppose £900k is quite a way behind 😬

Good luck to ya son…🤣


Macs NQ

We’ll see where you are in a few weeks when they announce 100k base!


The rest of the picture

The Ashurst senior associate pay now starts at £120k, which is horrendous. People should think about that rather than focussing on the NQ level. The MC pay rises much faster than Ash after NQ level. At Ash you’re now only making 95k after 2 years.



Anywhere got these figures for a full breakdown?



I think the standard scale is that a junior SC partner will be on the same as a US NQ. So I guess the pay goes up by ~£7k per PQE on average.





😀 😀 😀



Freshfields are raising to 120k btw



Are they though 🤔


pls god let it be true omg i need to find a way to justify this misery to myself




This is a lie. If it’s true, please confirm where it’s from.


NRF Finanfial Services Associate

NRF raising to 97k also.


Nerton Rase Foulbrought LL equity P

Finanfial Services sounds pretty damn top.


Snorting Rows Allnight

About time!



Is this true?




Could someone please tell how much does a newly minted junior partner make at a firm like Ashurst and how much at Links/A&O?


This website is actually tooooo funny

Hahaha get a grip.


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