Slaughter and May joins magic circle rivals in upping NQ pay to £107.5k

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By Aishah Hussain on

Third rise this year

Slaughter and May today announced it has raised the salaries of its newly qualified (NQ) solicitors to £107,500, following similar moves made by some of its magic circle rivals.

The firm confirmed in a statement that following a review of remuneration using “professional market data”, NQ salaries will increase from £100k to £107.5k backdated from November.

This marks the third time this year that the firm has increased NQ salaries. Slaughter and May nudged NQ lawyer pay from £87k to £90.5k in February and to £100k in July 2021.

The latest money move matches recent pay rises made by Clifford Chance, Allen & Overy and Linklaters, meaning Freshfields, which was the first of the bunch to raise NQ salary levels to six figures back in May 2019, is the only magic circle member still paying its NQs £100k.

Magic circle salary standings:

Firm Trainee pay (Year 1) Trainee pay (Year 2) NQ base rates
Allen & Overy £50,000 £55,000 £107,500
Clifford Chance £50,000 £55,500 £107,500
Freshfields £50,000 £55,000 £100,000
Linklaters £50,000 £55,000 £107,500
Slaughter and May £50,000 £55,000 £107,500

In separate news, Slaughter and May confirmed that all staff will receive a discretionary bonus in December. This will be in addition to the special 5% bonus the firm paid out to staff in June this year.

The 2022 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

Elsewhere, Gowling WLG is increasing its junior lawyer salaries in London and Birmingham from next month.

The firm confirmed it is upping NQ solicitor rates to £85,000 in London and £52,000 in Birmingham — representing increases of 12% and 8% respectively. The rises are effective from 1 January 2022.

NQs in London currently earning £75,750 will soon be on the same level of cash as those at Squire Patton Boggs, our 2022 Firms Most List shows, and earning more than their peers at Addleshaw Goddard, CMS and Eversheds Sutherland, all who pay associates £82k upon qualification.

A spokesperson for Gowling WLG said that salary levels for associates, senior associates and legal directors at the firm are also being raised for 2022.

“We keep pay under regular review to ensure we remain competitive and to continue to reward and motivate high performance,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “We invested in one our largest salary rounds in recent years over the summer, and we are pleased to be in a position to increase lawyer salaries further from January 1.”

A pay war has been waging across the City as UK law firms compete with the mega-paying US ‘MoneyLaw’ firms in London to retain junior lawyer talent. Find out which other firms have raised London NQ lawyer pay in recent weeks here.

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