White & Case boosts NQ salaries to £140k

By on

Trainee pay rises too

White & Case has increased newly qualified (NQ) salaries in London by 8%. NQ rates will move from £130,000 to £140,000 on 1 January 2022.

The salary hike means new qualifiers at the firm will soon earn the same as their peers at Cleary Gottlieb and more than those at Paul Hastings (£133k) and Willkie (£130k).

Associates further up the chain have also been awarded a £10k pay rise. Solicitors with one year’s post-qualification experience (PQE) will earn £147,500 (previously 137,500), while those with 2PQE will earn £160,000 (previously £150,000). This represents rises of 7% across the board.

The salary rises of solicitors with three to nine years’ PQE are “discretionary”, but are expected to be as “competitive” as those detailed above, the firm said in a statement.

Secure your place: The December 2021 UK Virtual Law Fair

W&C has also increased trainee solicitor pay in London by 4%; first years will earn £52,000 (up from £50,000) and second years £57,000 (up from £55,000) from next year.

A White & Case spokesperson said: “Following discussions with partners, we are increasing legal salaries in London, including for trainees. The salary increases, which are effective from 1 January 2022, are another demonstration of our position as a leading law firm globally and in the City.”

W&C has been established in London for 50 years, where it currently has over 400 lawyers, plus around 90 trainees. The firm recruits approximately 50 trainees in the London office each year.

£140k+ salaries for City NQ lawyers is becoming increasingly common, as firms reward staff following largely buoyant financial results in the past year. It also reflects the battle to recruit and retain staff in a highly competitive jobs market.

The likes of Akin Gump, Davis Polk, Milbank and Ropes & Gray all pay above the £140k mark upon qualification.

The 2022 Legal Cheek Firms Most List



Considering they take 50 trainees a year this is a lot of dough expended on NQs

Heard its not a fantastic place to work though……


who told you that? Comments like this are stupid. Another person’s nightmare is another person’s dream. It’s all subjective…


People who did the Vac Scheme, just general off-the-cuff comments over the years – no smoke without fire imo

Yes if you have no other offers you would be stupid not to take it and does do good projects work and offer good secondments – just think people should go into corporate law – especially US HQ’d firms with their eyes wide open


Do people really care that much about international secondments?? It’s only 6 months in what will often be a less profitable office.


Yes – just ask most lawyers , secondments are the best thing many of them say they did.


Oh dear, six months in “a less profitable office” eh? 😂

Back to your textbooks son, these comments obviously aren’t for you.


There’s been a definite cultural shift. In my trainee cohort everyone was absolutely desperate to avoid international secondments; five or so years before that people were fighting to get them.

Decent place. Only real drawbacks are that many teams do not have proper work allocation systems (some people are always ooverworked while others are often without any work) and some politics in larger teams (this is irrelevant to NQs but you start to notice this as midlevel and it really kicks in when you are senior). But this is probably true for most of larger law firms.


I work there in M&A and I disagree. Team just received an influx of 13 (mostly foreign) Associates – very young team but definitely a work hard play hard feel to it.


I remember around 3-4 years ago when W&C paid 105k and everyone on this website would moan how Magic circles and silver could never compete with those pay levels. Now look.

Heres to hoping in a few years time MCs will at least reach 130k . Wont hold my breath though


I see a lot of information surrounding NQ salaries but does anyone have an insight into PQE salaries at MC firms?

Are the pay increments blown away there too?


There will probably be another crash before then and they will go back to 80k then say in a few years they are “raising” pay to 110 etc.

Kirkland NQ

Aww, it’s cute when they try.

Equity Boi

Thx fresher, back to your textbooks 😘 xoxo

MC who?

Freshfields? CC? You there?


Considering the fact it is alleged that Freshfields doesn’t pay bonuses to NQs – does mean a NQ at NRF and HSF hitting their billable targets receives more pay than their colleagues at FBD


They pay small bonuses to NQs, and £130k at 1 PQE, ie far more than any other U.K. firm.


any insight on 1pqe at the other MC firms?

Anon - OP

Fair enough – stand corrected 🙂


Freshfields do pay NQs bonuses 🙂

Big R NQ

Reed Smith?

Kirks Phatboi

Never met him.

Curious of Counsel

Just out of interest, what is it that NQ solicitors actually do at these big firms to earn so much money?


Work an extreme number of hours, perhaps twice as many hours as a 9-5 job over the course of a year

Curious of Counsel

Doing what, exactly?


That depends on the practice area, but generally supporting senior associates and partners on matters – usually a lot of process management, you’d be in charge of certain workstreams like conditions precedent (and expected to run with these fairly independently), preparing draft documents, document review (from a legal risk perspective, e.g due diligence), research/deal comping. That’s from a transactional perspective. The role of a NQ at a top firm is typically very challenging as the expectations are high when such salaries are offered.


Give their whole life to the firm


Record 1800+ hours annually, at a chargeable rate exceeding £500 per hour. It’s honestly pretty simple maths. Go ask the market why it supports those rates..


Wouldn’t you like to know?

Rumourous Rupert

Is it true that they employ people to bring coffee and food to the desks of their lawyers so they don’t have to take breaks, and that adult incontinence nappies are recommended for those who would, in normal circumstances, require bathroom breaks with reasonable frequency?












Distinctively DDD 💰


This obsession with money is a disgrace. That is just my humble opinion, anyway.


This obsession with money is a disgrace. That is just my humble opinion, for what it is worth.

Join the conversation

Related Stories