Stephenson Harwood boosts NQ lawyer pay to £90k as it ups billable hour targets

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By Aishah Hussain on

City firm overhauls associate remuneration and bonus scheme

Stephenson Harwood is raising the salaries of newly qualified (NQ) solicitors in London by 20% from £75,000 to £90,000, with associates across different levels of the firm also set to enjoy pay increases ranging from 8-17%.

They take effect from 1 January 2022 and follow the re-basing of associate pay bands in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Singapore earlier this year.

NQs at Stephenson Harwood now earn the same money as their peers at silver circle firms Ashurst, Macfarlanes and Travers Smith, as well as those in the London office of US firms Baker McKenzie and Reed Smith. You can see how Stephenson Harwood’s new NQ pay figure compares with others in our 2022 Firms Most List.

In other firm news, Stephenson Harwood will increase its target hours from 1,550 to 1,650, and set aside 50 hours for “non-fee earning work” such as business development, innovation or other firm initiatives.

There have also been changes to the firm’s bonus scheme, with some taking effect from 1 May 2022. Stephenson Harwood will award bonuses ranging from 7% to 20% of salary to lawyers that hit or exceed their target hours.

The 2022 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

Other bonus schemes in place at the firm include: a 10% bonus rewarding original work at any career stage, a salary-fee income multiplier bonus for associates who don’t meet their target hours but achieve a fee income of four or more times their salary; and a team bonus rewarding collaboration at the firm. Stephenson Harwood will soon introduce a bonus for its top performers for the year.

CEO Eifion Morris said in a statement: “These changes are a hugely important first step in repositioning the firm. We’ve taken the decision not just to adjust our base salaries for associates, but to reposition them completely.”

He continued:

“These changes show a clear statement of intent, reflecting the confidence we have in our firm, the quality of work we do for our clients and the value of our exceptional people.”

Morris added that the firm intends to implement further changes to its lawyer reward schemes over the next few months.

Earlier in the week we reported that Stephenson Harwood had announced a new e-car perk for its lawyers in London.

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