Squire Patton Boggs boosts trainee salaries by as much as 27%

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City rookies now start on £47k

Squire Patton Boggs (SPB) is the latest international law firm to raise the pay packets of trainee solicitors across its UK offices.

The law firm, which is headquartered in Ohio, has raised year one London trainee pay to £47,000, up 27% from £37,000, while its year two trainees will receive £50,000 — a 19% uplift from £42,000.

Trainees in SPB’s regional offices — Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds — will receive an extra £4,000 and £5,000 respectively: year one rates increasing by 15% to £30,000 and year two rates moving to £33,000 — an extra 18%.

The 2022 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

The firm’s newly qualified (NQ) associates earn a salary of £85,000 in London and £48,000 in the regional offices, following an increase last autumn.

The Legal Cheek 2022 Firms Most List shows that SPB recruits 25 trainees each year, and scored A* or A grades in nine out of ten categories in our latest Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey.

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Question is – why isn’t the NQ aligned with CMS etc.



The recent rises are going to create a new order in London’s mid-market in respect of talent.

Recruitment market still booming post early pandemic slow down. Years out of the office also reduces connection to current firm. Lots of people leaving private practice after reflecting during Covid. Demand for good commercial lawyers larger than supply.

Complacent firms will be left behind in such a candidate driven market.


Meat Printer

CMS are paying more than their competitors. Unless the DLA Eversheds Addleshaw kind of firms start pumping into the 90s I can’t see SPB moving.


OP Anon

Disagree on that one, CMS is definitely in that bucket of firms that you mentioned but I think they are the first movers. If none of them increased I would see none of those firms moving. Maybe with the exception of DLA who increased very close to 90s so they may get away with not moving again. Eversheds, Dentons, AG and OC will have to move again soon to close some gaps or associates are likely to get quite salty in the next 6 months and will expect them to look to lateral.



OP Anon. If you think people are going to move for 5k those people need to reassess their lives. It’s £200 a month. Totally irrelevant amount to have to start new relationships etc.



No one leaves for just that amount of money. Having worked at one of those lower paying firms above however, the lower headline salary is now just emblematic of a culture of not investing in staff more generally (be it through career development or remuneration), IT etc which are valid reasons to leave.


No there not. No one is moving for 200£ a month after tax.


OP Anon

Where are you al getting £5k from?

CMS 95K, Eversheds 82K. There’s a £13k difference. £6.5kp/a after tax – c.500pm. You move for that.

When I talked about CMS, I said they are the first mover in their area in the market and the stated firms would need to play catch up. When I said DLA, I meant that DLA might get away without having to raise again mid year because they got close to the 90’s.

Anonymous poster

How long will this boom last? Firms have been raising salaries multiple times a year.

How long will the lateral hire boom last too?


OP Anon

How long will thriving legal market last with booming private equity? Very possible that element of the market could take a breather with raising interest rates. Full service firms however are well equipped to deal with whichever way the market turns.

Firms have been raising salaries multiple time but it doesn’t mean it is unsustainable. Profits are at record highs, firms are having a great year again this year from what I can see. It takes black swan events for salaries to drop, start of pandemic, 2008 etc. Its just a sign of the market firms need to remain competitive and often the only thing they know is to throw money at a problem.

There are longer lasting gaps in the 3-6PQE levels which is notoriously hard to recruit good candidates. This has always been an issue but exacerbated by change in career direction, covid burn out etc. If the gap is there in the market, firms need to pay or offer other incentives to recruit from other firms. How long the lateral boom last depends on whether firms can entice in-house counsel to private practice (which I have seen done), retain and promote from within, or go to other markets – Auz/NZ etc. I don’t know the ins and outs of how they will decide to do that but one approach I have seen is a lot of poaching from regional firms by U.S, MC and international firms.

For now lets enjoy the rises we are getting and keep the pressure up on the stragglers



So there are trainees working for £37,000 p.a. in 2022?

I’m honestly quite surprised. Mid-tier firms like BCLP and Simmons paid £40,000+ to their first years 5 years ago.



Or google “cucumber grape monkey”

You can’t pay associates at SPB less than Simmons etc. and vice versa otherwise associates at one shop get frustrated and beleaguered and move. Monkeys at other shops over the road earning more doing same job. Monkey mad. Monkey think he or she better monkey than other monkey anyway. Monkey move.

It is a real thing when you’re doing the job. And it’s super easy to move. There are always openings. It’s just a matter of sending a CV, doing a few interviews. That’s why all UK firms have retention problems.

I’m sure SBP will up its NQ wage soon, but because it’s doing it later than the rest, it’s going to have some unrest and by just meeting market doesn’t quite unsettle that. And if it ups and ups lower than a competitor i.e. less than 100k, and it doesn’t look great either. No one’s fault, just the way the market is.


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