Macfarlanes boosts NQ lawyer pay to £90k as it confirms 88% trainee retention score

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Rookies also handed rises

Macfarlanes has become the latest City outfit to increase the salaries of its junior lawyers.

The silver circle player confirmed base rates for newly qualified (NQ) lawyers now sit at £90,000, a 6% rise from £85,000. Macs did however say that it expects its new associates to “earn in excess of £100k this financial year taking into account all elements of their package”.

Trainee pay is also up, with first year rookies receiving £48,000, a rise of 9% from £44,000, and those a year ahead earning £52,500, up 7% from £49,000.

The Legal Cheek Firms Most List shows that additional cash puts Mac’s fresh faced juniors on a pay par with their opposite numbers at Ashurst, Baker McKenzie and Hogan Lovells.

The 2021 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

Separately, Macs confirmed it will retain 22 of its 25 trainees qualifying this September. This hands the firm an autumn rate of 88%.

Jat Bains, graduate recruitment partner, commented:

“We’re delighted to have maintained our consistently high retention rates for another year. This has been an uncertain period for many but we have continued to invest in our trainees, knowing that an investment in our trainees is an investment in the firm’s future.”

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PE World

Told ya in the earlier Skadden post.


IBD World

This was reported in other outlets earlier. Stop pretending you had the inside scoop. It’s embarrassing.



Macfarlanes’ PEP is higher than that of almost all of the MC’s.

I wonder why they can’t match their NQ salaries?

Is it just partners being greedy?



Because U.K. firms are led by old school traditions and hierarchy. Macs and Travers can certainly match 100k but they won’t because they aren’t MC.

This sort of thinking is not shared by US firms who all compete to match each other regardless of rank or prestige or even profits.


Fed Up

FBD embarrassing themselves yet again. Deny the trainees and NQs a covid bonus and now nothing at all on the pay rise front. Will still beast us US style tho….


FBD vac schemer selling soul to US firms for £140k

So much talk on the vac scheme about FBD “competing” with US firms but they still aren’t raising pay. Might as well go to Linklaters instead of the lowest ranked magic circle firm on LC and ROF surveys



I did the Freshfields VS last summer and I know of at least three people who had offers from both Links and FBD – all chose Links



HL upped to 100k



Seems on par with the MC when bonus factored in. They could afford to pay more with a smaller intake and high profits but I guess they don’t need to unless Associates start jumping ship to US firms.

The whole idea of MC being elite is what holds back other U.K. firms from competing.



Last statement is 100% on point. The legal media, through their fetish of classifying law firms in “circles”, have stifled salaries progressing amongst UK firms in a large manner.

By giving the MC firms their title, they have incentivised the greediness of partners of other UK firms.



Macs matched slaughters yet the latter is considered MC and Macs isn’t – whole categorisation into MC/SC seems pointless now especially with the emergence of US firms.

Let them compete on practice area strengths, clientele, profits but not meaningless labels.


MC ass

I’d work at Macs before Slaughters any day of the week. Never heard a bad thing about Macs, Slaughters sounds like working in the 1850s.



2.5% Covid bonus – how generous.



Macs already do have a very healthy bonus scheme though 9-10% guaranteed bonus, everyone gets a individual bonus on top plus this covid bonus. It’s pretty healthy.



Uncapped bonus of 9.78% plus individual bonuses – as per the Lawyer


Class Icks

I’m guessing 1:57pm was thinking of Croesus not Crassus…



Salaries/money aside and focussing on culture/work, if you wanted to qualify into some sort of corporate M&A/ECM/PE, which firms would you go for?



If I was focusing on culture/work and not money, I wouldn’t work in any of those areas anywhere.



In-house at the deal funder or sponsor. You can get that sick financial sector bonus of >50% for back-office staff and laugh at all the instructed private practice solicitors on the verge of a stroke trying to meet your unreasonable deadlines.

Positions are limited and highly competitive because the above is no exaggeration. It’s an incredible role if you can get it.



Nice trainee pay rises. Not sure why people on this page don’t focus on these more



FF really lagging behind. NQs not even eligible for a bonus for first year after qualification, so not sure how much longer they can try to hide behind their claim to be “top of the market” if Macfarlanes total comp is outpacing them…



Are there any stories at the moment that aren’t about vast wads of filthy lucre?






Would love them to be bold and offer 105k



I’m on £22k lol phat


Still second best…

But yet still less than most of the best commercial sets at the Bar. All this talk of these big salaries ignores that you would earn more at the junior end of the Commercial Bar – to say nothing of the fact that you get way more time off (good luck getting hold of any of us in August).


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