Burges boosts Bristol NQ lawyer pay to £60k

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Matches Osborne Clarke with extra 15% 💷

Newly qualified (NQ) pay in the Bristol office of Burges Salmon now sits at £60,000.

The fresh uplift, which equates to an extra 15%, follows a similar move by Osborne Clarke earlier this summer. Burges’ rookie solicitors, meanwhile, earn £42,000 in year one, rising to £44,000 in year two.

The Legal Cheek Firms Most List shows the move means Burges and OC now share the crown for top NQ payer in the southwest, with Simmons & Simmons just behind on £56,000. The other big players in Bristol, TLT and RPC, provide NQ rates of £50,000 and £49,000.

Burges confirmed it doesn’t have any NQs in its London office, while the small number based in Edinburgh earn a salary of £55,000.

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Burges Salmon managing partner Roger Bull said:

“In carrying out this review, we have positioned ourselves at the top end of the market outside of London because we want to attract and retain the best people and offer a different approach to working where our lawyers can undertake quality work within a supported culture and thrive as an individual.”

High quality work coupled with decent work-life balance means Bristol is an attractive option for those seeking to kick-start their legal careers outside the City of London. The cost of living is a big plus too. The average price for a property in Bristol stood at a little over £350,000 in September 2021, according to property website Zoopla. This compared to a whopping £650,000 in the capital.

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Kirkland NQ

My maid makes more than that.

Ignore this fool

Thx for the comment fresher and good luck with your first Contracts lecture next Monday. xoxo


Our bilingual nanny definitely makes more than that. No idea what the cleaners earn, I suppose I could check my account but can’t be bothered.

The “you are still at uni” type comment is so devoid of wit and is crashingly dull. I got a leading alpha on Contract Law not that it matters.


That’s ok, you can keep on gooning. You’re safe here my son.

Couldn’t hack The City but dreams of City 💷

Hopefully this causes the same waves City rises do and the other “Big Players” in Bristol follow suit…


£60,000 in Bristol is a pretty great salary for the city, especially if you get a good work life balance too. Its the most money for private practice lawyers in the UK outside of London.

Scottish market is looking shocking in comparison…

Scottish commiserations

If BS is paying £55k in Scotland, that is WELL above the norm here. CMS, one of the main firms in Scotland, pays £43k and Addleshaws is on £47k.

Hopefully the increase in salaries in England start spreading North of the border! So many people are leaving, tempted to go to Bristol if I can make £60k when costs of living are similar to Edinburgh…

Rookie @ BS

Speaking from direct experience, BS does not have a decent work-life balance.

Having trained and stayed there post-qualification, the hours and pressure are comparable to what my friends experience in London (think 2Birds, Sheds – BS is generally not at the levels of SC, MC & US, although it can be at times).

However if you want an alternative to London without compromising (too much) on quality of work, it’s the only place to be in my opinion. (I am biased though.)

The culture is fantastic.

£60k is excellent given the overall balance of factors and cost of living as stated. Trainee pay was trailing the market horrifically for a while and the recent increase was long overdue, but now trainees are very well paid.


Do you know what BS pay in Bristol is like at 3-5 PQE? If it’s 70-80 then that is decent, but regional firms tend to seriously underpay associates beyond NQ, so I’d guess it’s more like 65-75.


Salaries went up across the board.

4-5 PQE associates are on around £74-80k dependent on performance (second-hand knowledge but I’m confident)

Charles Russel Associate

I’d rather work for Charles Russel actually. Better work much better pay and we are a top 20 outfit in the City


Russels is top innit


A lot of people have been breaking down the NQ salary of US firms in the comments in an attempt to ridicule them.

US salary of 140,000:
40,000 can be put into pension.
That leaves 100,000 to be taxed.
37,700 at 20% = 7540
62,300 at 40% = 24,920
100,000 – 32,460 = 67,540 post-tax income.

Now, if we accept that the pension contribution is an ‘asset’ that the employee wants to keep (which it is – everyone pays into a pension and wants to maximise it), this leaves a yearly ‘income’ of about:
67,540 + 40,000 = 107,540
107,540 / 12 = 8,961 (9000 a month)

So the NQ can ‘make’ about 9000 a month. A salary of 140,000 is generally pretty sweet, you can max out your pension and still generate a huge amount in your late 20s with a post-pension salary of 100,000. It’s a very good deal, not something to be sneered at.

Let’s take an average mid-market firm that pays around 80,000. This is fairly generous – many are below this. People say that you’re much better off working at these firms because you’re more like to have your evenings free and the difference in what you can save is not so great.
Doing the same calculation for a salary of 80,000 on the assumption that they will contribute about 15,000 to their pension (they’re not going to be maxing it at 40,000, 15,000 is quite generous), the post-tax income (46,540) plus the pension contribution (15,000) comes to:
61,540 / 12 = 5,128 per month

That’s a difference of 3,833 each month.
Whether you think it’s worth it to qualify at a US firm is up to the individual.

Remember, however, that the salary of US firms increases much faster than at UK firms and at around 5PQE they’ll probably be out-earning a 8PQE UK associate by a factor of 4 or something silly. The exit opportunities are also better. A lawyer in the London office of an elite global US firm is more sought after than someone working in the Eversheds office, sorry. And your colleagues are probably smarter and more interesting.

Have a nice day.


No one is reading all this m8


I ain’t reading all that nonsense…

But I’m happy for you

Or sorry that happened


I bet you’re fun at parties.


What a dumbass lol. I love how you equate more money to being more intelligent..


US firm lawyers are some of the most dry people going..have you ever stepped foot in a law firm? 😂😂


You’ve got too much time on your hands.


Nice mental fap you sad gooner


Nobody brought up US salaries here but thanks…

Tbh would rather be in Bristol on 60k with good work life balance, ability to buy a house and no crushing commute than an 80k city firm or 140k+ US firm with no life.


Your calculations are terrible , you haven’t factored in national insurance deductions or student loan repayments that most graduates would have to make.


“Now, if we accept that the pension contribution is an ‘asset’ that the employee wants to keep (which it is – everyone pays into a pension and wants to maximise it)”

Such wisdom, much insight

You’d be lucky to get a TC at any firm in the country with that brain knocking around between your ears, let alone the ones that you’re writing about.

tax lawyer

Wait, are pensions now taxed at 0% when taken? I must have missed that announcement.

Boring dude

You can contribute up to 40K in your pension per year. You don’t pay tax until you draw down on it age 55 (or more likely 57). When you gain access to your pension, you can take a lump sum of 25% of your pension tax free – you’ll also likely pay a lower tax rate than the 40%+ you would pay as a lawyer in a US firm.

Anon's Supervisor

You didn’t include National Insurance or Student Loans in your workings, pls fix.

Simmons what u doin

How the hell is Simmons, a City firm, behind these Bristol-based firms? They are going to lose out on so much talent if they don’t step up their game


srs q – would you rather work at a MC/SC or large US firm


I’d rather onanize 10 hours a day then goon away at some US sweatshop


I wonder how Simmons & Simmons in Bristol will respond?


Will probs up salary, I expect. They can afford it. Bristol is reportedly their most profitable office (wonder why) in their entire network.

Former BS Associate

About time, BS lagged behind Simmons and OC (and at higher PQE levels firms like TLT) for years and lost a lot of talented juniors to City firms. Hope this stems the flow.

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