DLA ups NQ lawyer pay: 95k in London, 65k in regions

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Up by 8% and 35%

DLA Piper has become the latest major legal player to up the salaries of its most junior lawyers.

The international giant has shifted base rates for newly qualified (NQ) associates in London from £88,000 to £95,000 — an uptick of 8%.

Meanwhile, NQs in the firm’s regional offices — Birmingham, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield — will see their salaries swell 35% from £48,000 to £65,000.

The Legal Cheek Firms Most List 2022 shows trainee pay in London currently sits at £46,000 in year one, rising to £51,000 in year two. Regional rookies earn £30,000, rising to £33,000.

The 2022 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

Liam Cowell, DLA Piper’s UK managing partner, said:

“The firm has conducted an interim salary review for our UK lawyers that was effective as of January 2022. This is a first step towards implementing a new, more holistic and value-based approach to pay decisions, aimed at fairly rewarding the contribution of our lawyers across all locations. It is an interim review and our regular annual salary review will also take place in July of this year.”

The fresh uplifts put the firm’s London recruits on a pay par with those at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, CMS and Norton Rose Fulbright, and just £5,000 behind those at magic circle outfit Freshfields.

The firm recruits around 65 trainees each year and chalked up an A for training in our latest Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey.

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That 65k is king of the hill salary in the regions

Big ups DLA 💰



Simmons pays £68k in Bristol and Cambridge



Yes but that would mean working at Simmons!



Explains why you’re at dla 💀#mediocracy


London Stud

Cringe arguing about who works better at a regional firm 😭

Kirkland NQ

A Simmons associate and a DLA associate walk into a bar…

Sounds like the setup for a joke, but there’s already two in there.


Anyone know if they will be paying that in Edinburgh as well as the English regions


Regional Hack

Game on in the regions now. It’s going to be a very interesting summer. Lots of firms who were there or thereabouts with the market (£45-50k NQ) won’t be able to follow this.


Average Pay War Enjoyer

Good luck to the firms still paying 42k 😳


AG slave

*patiently waiting for AG to match*

…or could change practice areas and move to DLA as an NQ and get a pay rise.




Just move to DLA lol unless you have some undying loyalty to AG.


Another AG Slave

Another rise after last September? Dream on…



The death of the Magic Circle?



After tax there isn’t much of a gap between DLAs London salary and the MC/SC firms.

I assume the hours are also better at DLA?



Wow, nearly six figures and time to actually spend it. DLA is the best law firm in the world!!!



praying to all the gods that this sparks a midlands pay increase battle..


In time

Eversheds and BCLP Manchester will likely match. Addleshaw Goddard and Fieldfisher will raise but maybe not match 65k

Not sure on other regional firms instantly increasing but you can be sure that regional salaries are now going to see significant increases over time.


The Manchester Perspective

I doubt BCLP can or will match in Manchester. Expect to see the Shed, Freshfields and AG go close. Pressure is really on SPB and Pinsents.



From my understand there are no NQs at Freshfields Manchester – I think it’s just an admin support hub



There are quite a few lawyers there these days. No idea what they’re paid though.

anohter mancunian

No chance Pinsets will match.

They’re still on 72k in London and 44k in the regions.

Hopefully, they increase to 50-55k in Manchester soon.


Spb Mcr

Lmao as if the SPB boiler room would ever raise. 😂 They’ll claim “economic headwinds” and management recommending no raises and will give the toilers sweet fa.



Is Eversheds likely to increase or Addleshaw Goddard? And insight info 👀



Good on DLA for sorting out the regional pay gap. Going to have to recruit extra staff around March and September to deal with all the CVs they get from trainees from Pinsents, Eversheds and AG. Probably even the associates too at our salaries…


King of the Barbican

95k is all well and good but they are still opposite a council estate.

Must be a flex having “Barbican Hot Pizza and Chicken” as your neighbours.



Sorry elitist.


@ loser

I mean travers have a dingy two building office and Macfarlanes is a bit shabby as well. I’m sure the lawyers don’t complain as they are compensated well

Who cares where the office is???



There’s always one in the comments section with a rubbish take lol


Council Estate Lawyer

Would take a Barbican Hot Pizza and Chicken over a firm subsidised Deliveroo any day of the week. Their hot wings make life worth living.



The Barbican isn’t a council estate lmao



It’s an elite architecture of brutalism.

People don’t understand the significance of Barbican because they’re too young.

There’s a reason the one bed apartments in the heart of Barbican are up to 200k.



£200k?! Perhaps 20 years ago!


A Nonnie Mouse

Or even the factually accurate £550k for a one bed apartment…


Trying to understand the process of becoming a lawyer in the UK

I’m a Canadian student and my cousin keeps saying becoming a lawyer is so hard because of “training contract?” Is this true, I always thought it was just like passing the NY bar.


Small Rod



Look at me I have a TC please give me praise on LinkedIn

Only the greatest of savages can secure a training contract. If times were different, those with TC’s would be village leaders, emperors of war, tribal warlords, biblical figures, World renowned philosophers that enter history books, builders of nations. People like King Solomon, Genghis Khan, Socrates, the Roman emperors – these are the people that would secure TC’s today. Everybody else? Village peasants.



Finally, some good ______ing copypasta



Lmao u high bruv 😂😂


DLA Hopeful

Smart move by DLA re the regions.

With more WFH, the lines have blurred with plenty of talent chasing London salaries whilst living in the regions. 65k is HUGE news for the mortgage calculator.

Every city firm in the regions needs to be at least around the 55k mark surely?


Looking forward to seeing the responses

I think most regionals will increase to 55k and only the largest firms will match or reach 60k (Eversheds, AG etc)


5yearPQE - in MCR

What about 5 years PQE at national firms – What should they expect to be on?


The regional pay war has begun.

The rumours were true. This is huge.

London elitists may not care/realise but this is a major shake up in the regions and massive power move.

Traditionally, city firms with regional offices have been on very similar NQ rates with the current bar being around 50k a year.

Raising to 65k is a massive increase and one that only a couple other firms may be able match. It’s also worth nothing that 65k in the North is an incredible salary for the cost of living – I’d argue better than 95- 100k in London.

This is the beginning of a regional tier system, it’s now just a question of which firms are going to follow suit.


Skadden NQ

I’ll spare you a tenner lads


Truth Serum

Only thing you don’t have spare is time.

Chop chop, your draft amendments are due in an hour


I spy a Sociology student without a TC

The chances of a Skadden NQ being in the legal cheek comments section are slimmer than your chances of getting a TC


Pot calling the Kettle Black

I take it you don’t have a TC and you also aren’t at a firm where you’re spending your afternoon on LC



Lol is that the same firm where no junior associates from 2 years ago are still there?



Is this true?


Patrick B

This is some very decent coin, and a great firm. Congrats to all


Burnt out

What are the hours actually like in corporate at DLA in London? Are they significantly better than anywhere else?


DLA Associate

They can be pretty intense with some people easily doing MC/US hours but there are others who coast along, never hitting target, and that’s generally seen as fine.


Burnt out

Interesting, thanks. The MC/US point is what I suspected might be the case. Recruiters give you the spiel that it’s not the case and your WLB will be so much better but I remain unconvinced. Guess in-house it shall have to be!


DLA Associate

I should also add that half of the junior / senior associates seem to be leaving for US firms.


Legal Recruiter

DLA setting the standard in the regions! Great to see regional lawyers getting what they deserve! Well played DLA…



The interesting thing to understand from DLA insiders is what this has done to the PQE banding i.e. whether there is massive compression or equivalent uplifts across the board.

Unless the partners are taking a massive hair cut (unlikely!) you’d think it would have to be the former?



They have weighted the budgeted increase towards the regions and not London. Coupled with the savings associated with covid etc it’s probably not that much of a stretch, if any. If it is, they can just increase their regional rates slightly to account for it. London rates are only higher to maintain the gross margin and even then profitability is generally worse than the regional offices at most firms.


DLA Insider

FYI – I’m 5PQE in the regions and had a similar uplift to the one NQs got


Curious Associate

Are you able to shed some light on the culture at DLA please?


DLA Outsider

Similar in cash or percentage of base?



Interesting – mind if I ask what ballpark that takes you to? Very hard to find out what the NW firms are paying at mid level.



You can find pay surveys from legal recruiters.

No point looking currently, this news means that firms are likely to increase in the regions soon



Got those thanks, but curious what DLA Manchester are paying at the 4-5Q level rather than the old market levels. If that’s now in the 90k-100k range market looks very different.


Interested in ££ range if willing to share



In London, massive bunching at the senior level. Legal directors got no salary increase at all (and many LDs are not happy about this)



…and cue the more senior non-fee earning lawyers applying for NQ roles in their own firm


3PQE Commercial Associate

Honest question, what is the culture/hours like at DLA? And what is the billable hours target? Considering an application there (I’m a 3PQE Commercial Associate), but there doesn’t seem to be much info out there about DLA’s culture. Would be grateful for insight.


Ex DLA Trainee

The firm is way too big to have a cohesive ‘culture’, senior management is clueless/more focused on virtue signalling, and it’s full of rather chippy associates that are woefully average. Move to a SC/MC.



This is a lie and you’re clearly not ex DLA.

Those at DLA don’t view the MC/SC as a ‘step up’ so it makes no sense to laterally move to those firms.

After tax they are making roughly the same and are on similar hours to the MC/SC so why would they swap?

If you keep up to date with the lateral moves and hires at city firms (And if you actually worked at DLA which you never have) you would know that several lawyers at DLA moved to different US firms including Latham, Wilkie Farr and others etc



Yep, literally all the DLA leavers have moved to US firms last year.



How was your experience as a trainee there?



Sounds like a salty ex trainee who didn’t get kept on.



Is that where you moved post quali?



Looool this is a blatant lie



I’ve not been elsewhere so can’t reliably compare it but I’d say the culture at DLA is pretty good. I haven’t worked many weekends but have worked a lot of late nights. It doesn’t compare to US firms but have heard the hours in London transactional teams being compared to MC. The training is very good and the progression opportunities are very good. As for people, I’ve not worked with anyone who isn’t a decent person and who doesn’t have a good sense of humour. Hope this helps.


Ex DLA Trainee

I think I would know where I’ve worked….

At the time I was there it clearly was a step up both in salary and prestige-especially when Freshfields first raised to 100k-DLA was 75 ish).

I moved to an MC firm and have big salary increases on the horizon. Also don’t forget about salary bunching across the scales- Freshfields 1 year PQE earns 130k. Don’t even entertain the idea that DLA will match that.



“I moved to an firm”

Your grammar is as good as your lying ability


TOWIE of counsel

As someone who works in a commercial firm, this actually tracks.

The only time I send advice out without spelling mistakes is when a hilariously frightened 1st seat trainee spends 35 units proofreading a 2 page email.

Yes, you eager beaver students… that’s the job.



DLA paying 76 at the same time that Freshfields were paying 100 only happened to my intake…and no one from my intake went to a MC firm.



This is what I’m saying.

Hardly anyone from DLA jumps to a MC firm.

That person is clearly lying spreading misinformation.



That really is a big salary boost does anyone know if they will be paying that in there Edinburgh office as this article seams to only suggest its the English regional offices. But if the firm is going to pay £65K nq in Scotland’s that’s significantly hire then any other firm, think CMS only pays £51 for instance and will really make the firm stand out in attracted people in the Scottish market.


Scottish corporate lawyer

No NQ in Scotland deserves £65k. I’m sorry.. It is just daft.



If you’re currently in that office, I would take that as a “no”. No “hire” salary for you.



Any news on Dentons matching?


4PQE dentons

If they don’t do 95k NQ and sort out the bunching higher up in the bands by June, I’m outy 5000 my friend .



DLA isn’t a bad firm at all but it’s not MC/elite US standard, sorry. They’re completely different beasts. DLA aims to be as big as possible and to dominate the mid market.

You may know of a few ex DLA who have moved to this or that US firm but that doesn’t mean that the firms are on equal footing. My mate trained at a tiny West London property firm and moved to a US property team, it doesn’t mean the firms are of an equal standard


Don't start crying

According to LinkedIn, the 3 most popular universities for DLA Piper lawyers in London are Sheffield, Leeds and Manchester. It’s hardly ‘elite’.

Decent whack though for somewhere so average.


What an absurd comment

Probably because those in the regions who go to their local universities then go to the offices based in the regions??



No, you can filter on LinkedIn to see those who work and live in London. These are the universities attended by those in the London office


The Bursar



Theoden of Eversheds

So it begins.


@Ex DLA Trainee

The quality of your writing is awful and you make small but definite errors in your vocabulary too (what is a ‘1 year PQE’?).

You have never worked for DLA or an MC firm and it is very bizarre to claim otherwise via anonymous posts on the Internet.


MC gang gang

lol at the losers who compare DLA to MC firms

sorry your 2.1s from Sheffs only took you that far, I’m sure that, if you try really hard, and really prove yourselves, you may be able to work on a mid-market deal one day



I see that you posted at 1.03 am, I assume that was an early finish for you, “MC gang gang”.

At DLA, I have worked on deals worth six figures to ten figures. If there’s one thing that I’ve learnt from this, is that deal size means nothing when it comes to complexity, interest and job satisfaction.

So, yes, thank you. My first-class degree from a Russell Group university has taken me to exactly where I want to be. My word am I loving this new regional salary.


Copium Dispenser



what is going on

Dude are you really flexing the fact that you’re working at a regional office of DLA Piper?


It’s true. Source: I’ve lived in both London and Manchester

65k in a northern city goes a lot further than 100k in London…

Check out the high rise apartments with gyms, pools, and cinemas you can get in the northern city centres (about a 10 min walk from the office)

I’d like to see a london NQ on 100k have an apartment with gyms and pools a 10 min walk from the office …



Yeah but you have to live in Manchester…

Le Petit Bourgeoisie

Lmao if you like try-hard gooner BS like “ high rise apartments with gyms, pools, and cinemas” you’d love it in Dubai. Why not move there son, live tax free, flex the tan, the good life.

Manchester is the pits, sorry.


I’m not flexing, just putting “MC gang gang” into their box after such an unnecessarily-condescending post. I am, however, proud to work at a regional office of DLA. For personal reasons, I don’t want to work in London, but I still have access to the resources and work that a London lawyer would (though that can sometimes come at the cost of work-life balance). It sometimes frustrates me that people think that you need work for a MC or US firm to be considered “successful”. Each to their own – do what’s best for yourself and your career.



You sound mediocre and chippy at the same time.

Good luck with your high-powered career at DLA Manchester lmaoooooooo 😂😘


Does getting your CV rejected by every top firm count as a ‘personal reason’?


@Topkek Thanks for the best wishes! I will do.


people like you use cool sounding words to make yourselves look better

in reality:
“First from RG” = First in English Lit from Newcastle
“international firm” = DLA Piper

let me let you in to a little secret: no one at Oxbridge thinks of themselves as attending an RG. no one at MC/elite US firms thinks of themselves as working in an international firm (unless trying to be humble). you’re standing out just by how you choose to refer to yourself



I wouldn’t ordinarily refer to myself as a Russell Group graduate. I agree with you – after you’ve got your training contract (where, sadly, which university you went to can have an impact on your prospects), your academics do not matter, in my opinion. The only reason I mentioned it, and perhaps I got the tone wrong, was because of “MC gang gang” reference to a 2.1 from Sheffield, as if having such academic credentials would be a bad thing. (P.S. I did a law degree, at a different institution 🙂 ).



I wouldn’t worry. I think what you’re encountering is someone with all of the prejudice and unconscious bias that being a MC lawyer requires. Different horses for different courses – there’s no way they will take feedback from a “non-MC” lawyer. Might as well enjoy having that walk to work and the ability to make evening plans midweek and let them bank all that extra cash.

We all end up in the same place in the end – and where we’re all going, nobody cares which uni we went to.

RPC Associate

I think I’ll take the rest of the week off…



If you were a betting man or woman – who do you think will be the first to increase NQ salaries next – ES, AG or pinset?


AG slave


AG will not do anything until summer pay review (and even then don’t think they will match) and Pinsents have always been further behind.

Updating my CV now cyazzzzzz





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