Pinsents ups NQ lawyer pay across London and regions

By on

£75k in City and £45k elsewhere

Pinsent Masons has joined a growing number of UK-headquartered law firms in upping the pay packets of its newly qualified (NQ) lawyers.

NQ associates in London will now receive a salary of £75,000, up 3% from £72,500, while those in regional offices including Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester, will earn £45,000, a rise of 2% from £44,000.

Legal Cheek‘s Firms Most List shows the firm’s London lot are now on the same levels of cash as their opposite numbers at the likes of Addleshaw Goddard, CMS, Dentons and Stephenson Harwood.

Pinsents dishes out around 68 training contracts each year and pays City trainees a salary of £41,000 in year one, and £44,000 in year two. Regional rookies earn £27,000, rising to £30,000.

Secure your place: The Legal Cheek Summer 2021 Virtual Vacation Scheme

A host of UK outfits have upped pay in recent days as the war for junior talent across the City intensifies.

Ashurst and Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner bumped NQ rates to £90,000 and £88,000, respectively, while magic circle duo Allen & Overy and Clifford Chance both increased their cash offerings to £100,000.

US firms are upping salaries too. Fuelled by MoneyLaw mania across the pond, some fresh faced associates in London are now starting lawyer life on as much as £148,500.

Sign up to the Legal Cheek Newsletter



You can really see why a PM partner complained about salaries last year:

Firms not heavy in transactional/PE/Lev Fin work are not going to be able to keep up.





Disgruntled mid-market NQ

@CMS @Dentons @Stephenson Harwood catch up



Have CMS upped NQ to £82k? Or was that just a rumour then…






Not a rumour


Lambo Mambo

After seeing the furious comment that a Pinsents associate left on the article about Sidley pay (“I get to work on climate change disputes and blockchain wahhhhhh”) I had a good chuckle reading this.



“£72.5K to £75k”



Heading for the door

Utterly insulting raise for everyone who worked so hard over the past 18 months.

£72.5K to £75k at NQ works out to be an increase of £120 net per month.

Lavish stuff.



NRF where you at?


Pinsents NQ to be

Nice. Good to know that NQ gimps at Sidley now earn pretty much exactly double of what I’ll get this September. Awesome. Top stuff.



You should have tried harder in school.


Pinsents NQ to be

Nice try son. Back to your personal statement you go, UCAS Clearing opens in early July.



These types of firms are really going to start seeing a talent gap.They continue to under pay their NQs and lawyers. If you look at inflation and the rising cost of living in London, their pay simply isn’t enough. If they cant afford higher salaries, then they need to fundamentally rework their practices, business model and charge out rates, in order to.

The best undergrads are going to specifically target MCs/US or consider better paid jobs in finance, tech or consulting. Only the medicore ones will settle for PM. The allure of working at a CMS/DLA/PM shop is gone for top grads.



Imagine doing regular 12 hour days in corporate at Pinsents knowing your salary is barely enough to get on the housing ladder in London, whilst also knowing there are people doing the same grind on up to 2x the money. You’d likely reconsider the whole gig.



You need a salary of £50k plus to get on the property ladder in London. Pinsents is paying 24 year olds £75k. Relax.



I’m an NQ on 92k. I’m saving to get on the ladder but it’s genuinely not easy. Don’t know people in less well paying industries do it.


I made a terrible mistake

Try being a career changer in early 30s on £68k after 8 years working outside of the City. Some of us will never get on the London property ladder.

Old Guy

Whilst this sounds good in theory, the reality is that there is more than enough talent to go around. US firms pay more because they focus on different areas namely finance. Pinsents operates in different area, often domestic work, and has a more diverse practice. I don’t know why you kids struggle to understand that many highly qualified people don’t want to practice as a funds solicitor, and are happy working in life sciences, projects, construction, employment etc. The really funny thing are the associates at 8-12 years pqe who drop out of the US firms and think the partnership at firms at Pinsents will just roll out the red carpet for them.



The best undergrads were already doing that. There was never any allure of working at a regional firm. You think the brightest people dreamt of Pinsents?


Old Guy

In my area of construction/infrastructure, yes indeed. Of the US firms only White and Case has the general name cache, although there are top teams in other firms such as Akin Gump with Hamish Lal. But generally Pinsents is very highly regarded in this area.



Highly regarded by plebs earning under 100k in their 30s wahoo. Never mention W&C or Akin Gump in the same sentence as Pinsents ever again. Capisce?

Forever Associate

Easily the best global projects (supply chain side) practice, and can be a nightmare to work across from.

I’m also in the projects and energy/natural resources space… it would do my career wonders to lateral there for a couple years and exit opportunities would be great. But, there are some unfortunate rumours about personality types that puts me off on applying.


DLA NQ is 88 now.



Big if true.



These UK firms are peddling the worst strategy, they are paying THOUSANDS on their trainees via the large scale campus events, first year schemes, maintenance grants, GDL, LPC and TC. Them proceed to offer those same trainees crap NQ salaries. Those NQs/1-2PQE then bide their time to leave to US firms or go in-house = thus the investment UK firms made is gone, for other companies to utilise. What kind of long term strategy is that? UK heritage investment banks operated a similar strategy (not paying juniors anywhere near the amount JP, Citi and Sachs were offering) in the 90s and where are they now? Gone.

The US law firms who will benefit the most are those who are notoriously cheap with training and offer a “hands off approach” or no training programme at all. Waiting in the wings to poach and reap the rewards.


rr donnelley

So many NQs at Dentons are jumping ship it’s a joke



Just what an incoming junior associate likes to hear hahaha


Mal Content

Waiting for Fieldfisher.

Higher PEP, but significantly lower salaries. Tough to stomach hearing how well the firm is doing when the pay is so deficient. Associates, and junior partners too, are subsidising huge distributions at the top.

Pay needs to rise by 15-20% to hit market.


Former toiler

How are you surprised? City firms like Fieldfisher have been creaming it at the top for years. Top of equity bags £3m+, meanwhile associates get absolute crumbs.



Kirks just announced an increase in London NQ rates to £300,000 😱 No doubt we will follow suit of course

Swallow that if you can 💸


Uncle Sam


Also, given the fx rate they use (monthly), not necessarily the highest amongst the US big boys in London…


Wachtell 5PQE

Meanwhile I’ll be netting a cool $1m this year. 100%+ bonus babbyyyyyyyy 💸


Fresher Watch Ltd.

The only thing you’ll be netting is a UCAS Clearing offer from Southampton Solent University my son. Now calm down and take your meds, almost bedtime for you.


P M - 1PQE

Would anyone recommend a mid-market shop like Squires, Addleshaws or B.McZ for a general corp. lateral – both salary and qual of work wise?


Comments are closed.