CMS, Trowers and RPC hike NQ lawyer pay

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Rises for some regional rookies too

A trio of City outfits have upped the salaries of their junior lawyers.

CMS has increased the rates of its newly qualified (NQ) lawyers in London to £82,000, a rise of 9% from £75,000. The firm offers around 80 training contracts each year, with trainees, again in London, earning a salary of £44,500 in year one and £49,750 in year two.

Meanwhile, NQ pay in Trowers & Hamlins‘ London office now sits at £72,500, up 7% from £68,000, while their counterparts in the regions — Manchester, Birmingham and Exeter — also receive a 7% rise, from £44,000 to £47,000.

Elsewhere, RPC confirmed London NQs would receive a new and improved salary of £70,000 while their counterparts in Bristol would be handed £49,000 — upticks of 3% and 2% respectively.

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A number of UK law firms have splashed the cash in recent weeks as they look to attract and retain junior lawyer talent.

Pinsent Masons upped NQ pay in London to £75,000, while Ashurst and Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner bumped junior lawyer rates to £90,000 and £88,000, respectively. Elsewhere, magic circle duo Allen & Overy and Clifford Chance recently increased their cash offerings to £100,000.

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Decent NQ pay from CMS tbf


Big moaner

Does anyone have any info as to whether non-DPW scale firms (UK/International firms) are increasing pay bands further up the food chain? E.g. I know that A&O have hiked NQ pay but kept the remaining associate bands at their 2019 levels, but I understand CC have instated pretty hefty rises for each level. Not sure what’s happened at FBD or Links, or at the silver circle firms. Keen to know what other firms are doing – please post below if you have any info



Umm, I’ve applied for an NQ position at RPC and have been told by the recruiter I use that the salary is £64,000, yet Legal Cheek says £70,000?

Either the recruiter is pocketing a £6,000 commission, or either the recruiter or Legal Cheek is wrong…


Mr Worldwide

Yes sounds like the recruiter is pocketing the difference as commission. Either the salary will be paid up front and it will be added to their fee, or you will see SSQ as a line item on your payslip each month for the first 12 months.



Which team have you applied to join? I think salary can vary depending on practice area.



Their commercial litigation team.



Insurer funded prof neg work is an area of significant market over-supply and demands for reduced legal costs. It does not bode well to start out there. There are lots of better com lit options at the moment and there will be lots more coming online in the coming months.


Factually inaccurate. Rec probably just hadn’t heard about the salary increase at the time of telling the candidate what the salary is. The offer will come at the right salary.



@LegalCheek – when are you going to come through with an updated mid-year salary tracker?



Quinn now £146 NQ


Formerly at Quinn

Even the phat whack isn’t worth the volume of greasy penetration experienced at that sweatshop.



Greedy UK firm partners are just mugging their associates off, they know there will always be a long queue of desperate wannabe solicitors



Huh? What are you on about pinhead?



You really do not understand the economics of jackpot organisation structures do you? “Greedy”? A large gap between the top elite and the rest is critical to the entire regime.


Future trainee who wants a house

Any idea on Simmons? For a funds and finance heavy firm that competes with the big hitters, their NQ is measly


Flog Watch Ltd.

How on earth is £84k at NQ measly? Besides, given Simmons is such a “funds and finance heavy firm that competes with the big hitters”, you’ll be able to jump over to a US firm on qualification no problem, right?

P*ss back off to your textbooks, son.


First-year Freddie

I thought they were a funds and finance heavy firm no? Am I missing something? Please help me, I am a first year looking to learn


Sort it simmons

Their 1ST year and NQ salaries are almost equivalent to some Bristol firms. Simmons’ pay is MEASLY for Bristol based lawyers who work the same hours as their London counterparts.


Fresher Watch Ltd.

Go away fresher, no one cares.



Bristol Associates at Simmons are eligible for a standalone Bristol bonus scheme of 20% if they meet target billable hours. This is paid out in addition to the usual firmwide bonus.

An NQ in Bristol (£54k) is getting nearly £65k before firmwide bonus if they’re meeting targets.


Legal 500

The top funds firms are US + CC.



The associates are too busy running for the doors to stick around and negotiate a pay rise. The culture in many of the departments have a very bad reputation. One associate (that sounded like they were on the way out) posted on LC a while ago about how some of the corporate teams have more partners than associates due to the bleeding of worker ants to greener pastures.

Enjoy having a decent BigLaw name on your CV though! I’m sure it’ll be worth it.


Final seat trainee

This is total hearsay stuff but a friend of mine (at a different firm) told me that someone from her trainee cohort accepted an NQ role in S&S’ Funds team and is being paid £83k.



Study law, work in the provinces, earn less than a nanny when you qualify…


US guy

I think you’re quite naïve if you think that a nanny in the ‘provinces’ is making close to £50,000.



The regionals are going to have to up their pay with the recent house price rises from the London fallout. If everyone’s wfh and commuting 3+ hours per day then they might as well shift to a London firm for 20k extra and the same work.



I wasn’t talking about the “provinces”, they’re awful and why would one risk one’s children ending up with those accents? And £50k is not near the top of the range in town.





Don't Qualify Up North

Can’t believe Trowers have raised regional salaries by the same % as London!? 🤯 I assume CMS’ Sheffield lot are getting a 9% raise too right?…


Worst of both worlds

Might as well work for a northern firm like Irwin Mitchell and earn the same salary with fewer hours. Honestly don’t know how CMS thinks they can compete on salary in the regions when they’re falling below PI factories.


Osborne Mark

Anyone know what simmons are doing? Also their Bristol salaries are way too akin to other Bristol firms to make them stand out, outrageous. nQ London – 84, nQ Bristol 53. Fix it simmons


TLT trainee

Ooft, thought they paid above market for Bristol. Can’t imagine the difference in hours for busy Bristol depts are soft enough to make 31k less even slightly palatable. Might as well coast at TLT and finish at 4:30.



Assuming an NQ charge out rate of £300 ph (and it will be more) x 1850 hours that’s £540,000. Just being mugged off by partners



Well done for copy-pasting the comments from the ROF article, we all read it too mate. Shame you can’t come up with an original thought of your own.



Marx warned us about this.


Real world 2: Earth calling students

Anon has no idea how low margins are in law firms. That is likely to represent £75k in profits at most and “profit” has to fund the equity.



I can’t wait to see CMS Sheffield get the same… oh wait LOL!


Banking NQ

Not surprising that the tinpot firms cannot complete with BCLP. It is only a matter of time before BCLP overtake the MC.


get a grip

is this a joke


Old Guy

You must be at BCLP to write complete rather than compete. That is what you get for £150 an hour partners. Joke firm.



Anyone heard any news on HSF?


Question from International student

Which firm is easiest to get TC in terms of stages? I’m not from UK so was just wondering.



Lmao, p*ss off son.


Just sayin

Eversheds Sutherland NQ now £82k in London.



But the long term risk of taking a contract in the North is if you have kids they end up with a Northern accent. That is just bad parenting. Worse still, if you take a place in the Midlands.


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