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White & Case boosts NQ salaries to £140k

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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.

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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.

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