HSF joins City pay war with £105k base NQ salary

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By Aishah Hussain on

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Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) is set to increase newly qualified (NQ) solicitor base salaries in London to £105,000.

The silver circle firm confirmed today that from 1 January 2022, NQs will receive a £105k base salary plus discretionary bonus.

NQs currently receive a “total compensation package” of £107,000, although this figure comprises a base salary and discretionary bonus.

The firm said in a statement that the pay rise follows “a review of the market” and that there will be further increases to associate salaries in London and Brussels.

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HSF increased first year trainee salaries from £47,000 to £50,000; and second year trainee salaries from £52,000 to £55,000 in October.

Alison Brown, HSF executive partner, said:

“We are committed to investing in our talented lawyers and part of that is through competitive remuneration. Investing in our associates and trainees helps us attract, reward and retain the very best legal talent to deliver the high calibre work we undertake for our clients in a competitive market like London.”

The pay rise comes amid increased pressure on UK law firms to complete with the mega-paying US ‘MoneyLaw’ firms in London. Just yesterday Legal Cheek reported that fellow silver circle firm Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner upped junior lawyer salaries to £95k, while Macfarlanes joined the £100k NQ salary club last week. Will the other firms in the silver circle follow suit?

Silver circle salary standings:

Firm Trainee pay (Year 1) Trainee pay (Year 2) NQ base rate
Ashurst £47,000 £52,000 £90,000
BCLP £48,000 £52,000 £95,000
HSF £50,000 £55,000 £105,000
Macfarlanes £50,000 £55,000 £100,000
Travers Smith £47,000 £52,500 £90,000

Magic circle trio Clifford Chance, Allen & Overy and Linklaters all boosted new associate rates to £107k this autumn.

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