Osborne Clarke raises London junior lawyer pay to £80k

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Rises in regions and for trainees too

Osborne Clarke joins a growing number of City law firms to boost the salaries of its junior lawyers, with rises for newly qualified (NQ) solicitors and trainees in the London and regional offices.

NQs in London will now earn £80,000, a rise of 13% from £71,000. Those in Reading have been handed a substantial 20% pay rise from £54,000 to £65,000, while their counterparts in Bristol will receive 15% more cash — £52,000 to £60,000.

OC has surpassed several major players in the London NQ pay league, as featured in our Firms Most List, including Taylor Wessing (£77,000), Pinsent Masons (£75,000) and Gowling WLG (£71,000).

The 2021 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

Trainees in London and Reading, meanwhile, have been handed rises of 10% in both their first and second year, earning £47,500 and £49,500, respectively. Bristol trainees earn £39,250 and £43,000 — rises of 9% and 10%.

The UK-headquartered firm also announced changes to its bonus awards “in light of the extraordinary year we’ve experienced”. Bonus awards have increased from 5%, 7% and 10% to 5%, 10% and 20%, the firm said in a statement, adding, “we’ve rewarded substantially more people with a bonus this year”.

Hogan Lovells, Simmons & Simmons and Macfarlanes were among the City law firms to increase junior lawyer salaries just last week, with the former upping base pay to £100,000, matching recent moves made by the magic circle.

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The Broker

Let’s play a game 🎈

Would you rather…

a) Be a US senior associate; OR…
b) Be a MC JP…

Leave your responses in the reply section down below! 👇



c) Junior Associate at Osborne Clarke



That ain’t alpha, that ain’t beta, that ain’t even Catherine effing Zeta. Off the scale ZZ’ top of the rot. Dismal. Disgrace.



Decent wack from this shop



What is up with this? Over 800 votes on this post, which is far in excess of others on the thread. Seems like the numbers aren’t genuine, but it isn’t exactly that interesting/tasty of a comment? What is going on?!


Salty Grad




Anyone else noticed the dearth of ‘Kirkland Associate DealMonsters’ in recent articles..? 😦



If Burges Salmon don’t match the Bristol trainee and NQ pay or come close, it will be embarrassing.



Would be hard for them to justify not doing it. They basically have to or they will look like they are falling behind, Burges and OC have always basically matched eachother in terms of pay.



Burges are yet to announce their review aren’t they? Their current pay (£52.5k) is from 2019 so there should be an increase (especially since the firm is growing).

£60k is probably what the top Bristol firms need to pay to stop people migrating to London now that the salary at most decent London firms is above £80k, and if they don’t follow their main competitor with a similar NQ salary just looks bad.



Is Clydes still on 70k in London?



68k mate.



Noyce 🤣



cool, now what are working arrangements post covid?


OC Associate

Must be available 24/7/364. Christmas is sacred. Nothing else is sacred.



Prompted by a ton of junior associate attrition in the last 18 months to SC and US firms. Nearly 40% of my NQ intake has left now.

Working 70 hour weeks for middling salary (as has happened in a number of departments) is not really part of the OC bargain.



(What’s this? LC censoring comments now – I posted this a couple of hours ago and now it has been deleted)

Hear hear! Bleeding juniors left, right and centre across the firm! Low salaries were fine when we had a decent culture but that appears to have gone AWOL in the last 18 months so now it is just low(er) pay and juniors are not sticking around when they could get paid for the same elsewhere. Last one out turn the lights off.



Any news on raises at SPB?

Associate pay is so low. I got so hungry the other day I resorted to boiling my leather brogues in order to make a thin soup. Now I must wear rags wrapped around my feet when commuting to the office.

Somebody plz send aid.






Simmons should have upped their Bristol salaries as OC now have higher salaries than Simmons Bristol NQ


OC Employee

What departments are those? This is certainly not something I have come across.



60k in Bristol is decent, but not if you’re working a 70 hour week.



No rigid guidelines. Just that the firm expects most fee earner to be spending more time in the office than not from December.


Lateral AF

Is the new NQ rates a salary compression for associates? E.g. is an OC 3PQE only making £85k in London base? I’m assuming most realistic bonus is around 12.5% as well?



Pay rises have gone up about 10% across the board as far as I am aware at the junior level – 1 pqe has gone up to 86k.



Any ideas on 2/3/4 PQE?



Clyde & Co are out looking for NQs. £70k salary and 1600 hour target (vs £68k and 1450 target in the Most List).

Nice to see it’s still the top of the bottom.


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