NQ lawyer pay at Mayer Brown hits £105k

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Rise for rookies too

Mayer Brown has increased remuneration for its most junior associates, with newly qualified (NQ) solicitors in London now earning a six-figure salary.

The international outfit has increased base pay for NQs in the City by around 11% from £90,000 to £105,000. The rises took effect on 1 January 2022.

The recent boost puts the firm’s NQs on the same cash levels as their counterparts at Ashurst, Baker McKenzie and Herbert Smith Freehills, the Legal Cheek Firms Most List 2022 shows.

Mayer Brown’s trainees will also benefit from an additional uplift of £2,500 or roughly 5%: year one rates moving from £47,000 to £50,000 and year two from £52,500 to £55,000.

The 2022 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

Mayer Brown, which offers around 15 training contracts in London each year, scored an A* for training in our latest Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey. The firm also scored A grades for its quality of work, peer support, partner approachability and eco-friendliness.

The pay rise continues the trend of salary uplifts seen among rival elite law firms across London, including Ashurst, Willkie Farr and Gallagher and most recently Travers Smith.

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How has Ashurst got away with deferring increases till May but announcing now?!



You could look on Companies House and see their year end is 30 April, so the pay rise coincides with their financial reporting year.

Knowing this, one can assume it was announced now in an attempt to dissuade NQs from last Sept, and Spring 2022 qualifiers, from submitting CVs elsewhere. If the announcement had waited 4 months from now they’d likely have accepted an offer elsewhere by the time the announcement is finally made.



What about 5, 6, 7 PQEs? The headline NQ rates are only relevant long term is there isn’t bunching higher up.


Brady Bunch

You wouldn’t believe the amount of bunching further up the chain City-wide. Actual footage –



If LegalCheek decided to do some proper journalism, they should do an article on bunching.



Wouldn’t win them any favours with law firms as their key revenue streams


Pls tell me I must know

What is the NQ salary at DWF? They have to be the most secretive firm in the UK regarding remuneration.

Kennedys is similarly quiet on how much they pay their NQs.



Kennedys between 65 and 75 I would say.


I shall ponder for the rest of my days or until an NQ spills the beans


I guess all insurance based firms will be around the 70 mark?



Well documented problem I know, but at 10PQE, pushing possibly for partner, you’re earning 70/80k more than when you started.

These headline figures are great for graduate recruitment but will lead to a huge amount of dissatisfaction down the line.


Man on the Clapham Omnibus

Great firm. Great whack. Great place to do a few years and then fly over to K&E/L&W (looking at their alumni).



Thx fresher, cool insight.



You don’t ‘fly over’.
A mate of mine was offered an associate role at Latham a few years ago. He had to go through about 6 or 7 interviews over a long period. The competition was pretty fierce, it’s not easy.


Not Right Now

No. Few years ago it was tough, but the demand right now is unprecedented. People can practically fly over. Kirkland arent even bothering to interview some people because there is a huge labour shortage. Obviously things will probably stabilise post-PEdemic but you can most definitely fly over if you want to at certain firms.



“Kirkland arent even bothering to interview some people”

Sure fresher, keep the porkies coming. 😀 😀 😀



In my experience this is true. K&E only required a 15 minute interview (more like a casual chat).



They are so busy they didn’t even run a vacation scheme last year and instead gave the TCs out to the best 10 they interviewed


I’ll just sit and cry about/contemplate my choices as I decided to train and qualify in the Thames Valley for promises of a good “competitive” salary as against my hours worked… Oh how wrong I was.

£42k as an NQ in the Thames Valley (lol)… no movement in NQ salaries in 2+ years… terrible retention rates beyond 2PQE.

Oh well – life eh?


Latham Big Shot

Do better in your GCSEs next time



Congrats on joining Dentons, you’ll go very far.



I think working in Oxford could have been the only choice worse choice than this. Move to London. Easy fix.


LOL wut

No salary increase in 2 years and you’re still there?!


Regional Trainee

Currently a trainee at a regional office of a City firm … qualifying in September and the NQ salary on offer is really depressing. London pay war isn’t having an impact on regional pay at all.

Am I likely to be able to move to a London firm on qualification? I really enjoyed the litigation and arbitration work I did so ideally would want to qualify into disputes.


A fellow regional-er

Salaries have gone up to £50k for some regional firms. A few are higher than that.

£50k in a region (Manchester, Leeds, midlands) will go further than £80k in London.
You can get flats with swimming pools and cinemas for around £1000 PCM…

As for switching post-qualification, many people at my firm have done it. You’ll find there are a few London trainees who decide to leave the city around 1-3 PQE, and so there’s usually a market for lateral hires.



£1,000 per month 😂😂😂 you’ve made a better argument for moving to London there than you realise.


I thought London was ridiculously expensive?

You can get a high rise apartment in the centre of London with a swimming pool, gym and cinema for 1000 PCM can you?


I thought London was ridiculously expensive?

You can get a high rise apartment in the centre of London with a swimming pool, gym and cinema for 1000 PCM can you?

Bare in mind if you’re sharing that’s 500 a month …


Bear in mind yes?

We dare to be bare.

Make the move

Yes it is possible, speaking as someone who has done it. At the moment a high number of junior lawyers are making the move.

Given that many firms are now well over 90, despite London housing costs this is a no brainer compared to the 50k sweatshop. Posters mentioning bunching in London offices would be shocked to hear that regionally you’ll be incredibly lucky to see a £1500 raise from one year to the next.


It is part of the pay tbf

Most regional firms have raised by around 5k this year


Regional Trainee

Hope you don’t mind me asking, did you make the move on qualification or 1-2 PQE? Did you have to specifically mention to recruiters that you want to make a move to London and did you find it more difficult to find a role as a regional trainee compared to a London one?


Make the move

I moved around 1 PQE. You can engage a London based recruiter and explain to them why you are looking to make a move.

Depending on the London standing of the firm where you trained there are realistically very few obstacles moving to a firm up to SC level (MC is not unheard of although I haven’t heard of any going to US firms). Motives for making the geographical move are important and being able to explain why you didn’t just move to London for a TC initially. The usual suspects such as being near family etc can be wheeled out.


Curious George

Where does one find a comprehensive insight into PQE salaries and bonuses?

Not a fan of this NQ marketing bonanza…


Curious George

Where does one find a comprehensive insight into PQE salaries and bonuses?

Not a fan of this NQ marketing strategy



Nowhere. The US firms publish the Cravath scale and can be found from a quick google. The UK firms stay quiet to avoid relative embarrassment.


Mayer Very Brown...and sticky...

Good god the NQs here are getting fleeced. In the states Mayer Brown has a huge presence and of course pays top US rates ($180/90k) whereas in London it can only match the top of the silver circle…

Wouldn’t waste my time at this wannabe white shoe. “We’ve got the most lawyers in the top three finance centres in the world” WELL PAY UP THEN



Thx fresher…cool comment…good luck with the mocks.



My firm hasn’t announced any movement in salaries, even despite there being a temporary pay reduction during the first lockdown which lasted the best part of a year, skipped a pay review during that period cos “uncertainty”, paid no bonuses (we got 50% of the money we forfeited in the reduction only) AND still no news about any movement in the current remuneration.

I’m not to worry though as my firm has instilled in me an abundance of “resilience” and thanks me for my hard work in no form other than an email from the Managing Partner. Go Thames Valley!


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