Squires boosts London NQ lawyer pay to £95k

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Rises in regions too

Squire Patton Boggs has increased the salaries of its newly qualified (NQ) solicitors in London to £95,000.

The 12% uplift from £85,000 means its most junior associates will now earn an extra £10,000.

The Legal Cheek Firms Most List 2022 shows that this puts the firm’s London NQs at the same cash levels as their equivalents at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, CMS, DLA Piper and Norton Rose Fulbright.

The 2022 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

Squires has also bumped pay for rookies in its regional offices — Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester — to £55,000. This equates to a £5,000, or 10%, rise.

European Managing Partner Jonathan Jones said:

“Our associates represent the future of our firm. In a highly competitive market for talent, we remain committed to providing competitive pay and distinguishing ourselves with a culture that places the highest value on people’s development and well-being.”

The uplifts, which will be backdated to 1 January 2022, come just one month after the international outfit increased trainee pay across its UK offices. Trainees in London earn £47,000 in their first year and £50,000 in their second year, while regional rookies receive £30,000 and £33,000 respectively.

The Ohio-headquartered firm recruits around 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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ES have also increased NQ salary, 95k London and 62k regions. Effective from 1 May 2022


This is all so boring

If this is serious, this is 6 months after these other firms have risen – including SPB, the firm in this article. It is unlikely that any of these firms will remain at 95k by May since there tend to be summer raises – whether they announce in advance or apply updates retrospectively.



Up for debate. Mid market up to silver circle look to be pushing for a really good salary now with whats going on that they can sit on for 18 months.



Eversheds just did too. NQ salaries in London to £95k and in the regions to £62k.



told you duhhh



Pretty tasty…is their work/life balance good? If so, even more tasty. Wonder who’s next in the salary uplift, my bets are ES or maybe watson farley


The Cat Formerly Known as Tom

9.30-6 generally. 1650-1750 odd billable.
MC – 9.30-7.30-9.30 depending on team, some weekend work. 1800-1900 odd billable.
US – 9.30-7.30 or 9.30-11.30 depending on day, weekend work common. 1950-2400 billable.


US Junior

I work at US and currently annualising 1800 hours for the year. A lot in my team the same. Clueless.



You’re at one of the lower tiered US then. Higher tier is 2000+, usually with more non-billable too due to less support teams.


US trainee

My US firm has an hour’s target of 1950, although there isn’t a target for trainees.



Wow the first accurate summary I’ve seen on this site



No one wants to work at SPB that’s the thing.

It’s a joke of a firm



Banking and corporate can be quite late (late/early hours not unusual).


US firm 3PQE

Why on earth would you work at the Magic Circle?

For around the same hours (in transactional departments like M&A, PE, Lev Fin), you could get a lot higher pay at US firms. For almost the same pay as MC firms, you could get a far better work life balance at the likes of DLA and CMS.

The Magic Circle is a halfway house that’s no longer the gold standard for young recruits. I’d rate someone at Latham higher than CC. They went all around the world wreaking havoc on local law firms. Now the US has come and established itself in London and is eating their lunch.


The Head of All of the MC's HR

After tax, the salary differential between these UK firms is not consequential and yes, you will work longer hours, although generally shorter than US.

However, if you are desperate for a larger mortgage, you could borrow more on a MC salary (the amount lent being based as a multiple of headline salary number), than other UK salary for a bigger property. Of course, you’ll just be paying more interest and there are other mortgage deals which do even 5.5 x salary rather than 4.5, so the headline number isn’t the full story.



CMS sell themselves on a work life balance. It does exist (at times), but teams are so busy these days it’s like working at DLA, etc. May as well work at DLA and pocket the extra dosh. Plus salaries at CMS are always be in the market rate.


Truth Serum

They had no choice but to increase the salary otherwise their lawyers would leave for the better options in the market.

Why on earth would anyone choose to stay at SPB when the likes of Burges Salmon amongst other firms are offering higher and are actually decent firms to work at?

SPB has been criticised for a long time, not just for salary but simply the firm as a whole has a terrible culture and no one who works there has a single good thing to say about it. The only way they can remain competitive is to match salaries.



I see a rise coming for Burges Salmon too, as Simmons is paying more in Bristol and DLA is £65k in the regions.






MC and SC will forced to make some serious moves now. Enough with the 5k increases. They can’t stay on a similar take home pay to bloody Squires. How embarrassing.

What we now have is MC NQs who work on some of the most lucrative and demanding deals in the city – earning the same amount as a Squire NQ who is doing some two bit panel advice. Not good enough.

Time for those partners to reach into their pockets if they want people to stay. People keep banging on about NQs moving to US however what is far more common is the move to in-house. To stop that flood the pay seriously needs to be better.



Regarding the apparent “now”ness of this, Squires pegs itself to SC. BCLP and Travers etc. made their salary announcements in October / November for a 1 January rise. This is a retrospective rise to Jan 1 from Squires. As I think was the DLA rise. They’re all playing in the same field re salaries with a big separation between US and UK.



Good News: Salary is Up

Bad News: You have to work for SPB



I thought NRF matched MC? Can anyone confirm?



Considering according to ROF the hours they work it would be deserved and justified



That regional NQ rate is looking pretty weak given DLA’s rise last week.


CHIEF Inspector Boggs





Is there any news on Dentons? Looks like all of their main competitors are raising to 95k…


Pirates life

sinking ship


Dentons Associate

Nada coming out of Dentons. For any other firm in this bracket, I would expect them to match ES / SPB / DLA but then again its Dentons. Will 100% be speaking to recruiters if there is nothing by the end of the month. We have lost so many junior to mid level associates to £100k+ firms this year.


Unhappy Pinsent Masons Junior

Pinsent Masons is clearly fast asleep. The juniors and NQs are not happy at all with the senior management’s response of arrogant complacency re NQ pay. PM is not a lifestyle firm particularly in the transactional areas e.g corporate, banking and finance. You are expected to work hard and be available late at night to pick up work. It makes me wonder why someone would choose to stay there when they could be paid much more elsewhere? Yes the partners are nice, friendly environment blah blah blah but that won’t help me save up for a house deposit or pay for my wedding…



Don’t sweat it son. Fat chance moving from Pinsents to a Moneylaw firm anyway.


Unhappy Pinsent Masons Junior

You’ll have egg on your face VERY soon.



Exactly! How much longer can they hold out especially with Eversheds at 95k now.



Pinsents can’t raise its salaries after Richard Foley set his stall out on the matter. So don’t hold your breath



Same boat here. By boat I mean sinking ship. Partner arrogance will sink what was once something good.



Pinsent Masons is just a poor man’s Eversheds.


Come on

Genuinely don’t know why anyone would stay at Pinsents, their salary is an absolute joke compared to their ‘competitors’.

Vote with your feet and leave.



Eversheds just announced 62k in regions.

SPB’s raise to 55k is so poor that I wonder whether it was signed off before DLA’s announcement…


Clifford Chance 2PQE

I’ve heard that the training at this shop is actually pretty good but the office politics overshadows everything and those who cosy up to the right people get ahead regardless of merit. The best NQs get snapped up or leave. Happens every year…


Squires at 55, ES at 62 - Who’s next?

This is beginnings of the regional pay war.


5yearPQE - in MCR

What should a 5 year PQE real estate lawyer be getting paid at a national firm equivalent to Pinsents



Ask a recruiter



4PQE at PM roughly 95k



4PQE is c.£95k at PM



Looks like we’re in for another round of salary increases. The pandemic has completely changed the way we work. I know associates who work in London and live up north. Some associates have moved to London in my own firm whilst still working from their same seats in the Northern office. About time salaries are levelled up. I’ve been offered 70k for an associate role at a firm outside of London – compare that to the mediocre 50k+ offered in the North, whilst continuing to do high quality work. Northern offices tend to generate their own work and those associates deserve to be remunerated fairly. Otherwise I think I’ll be off to London and commute once a week.



You should definitely move to a London office – you’ll enjoy a much better quality of work and better your prospects. I’m afraid those who think the regional work is of the same quality are a little naïve.



Yeah but work from home isn’t sustainable. You aren’t going to be available to support peers or clients in the same way from a desk in your spare room.



I respectfully disagree. The last 24m have shown that it is possible. There are limitations, but the difference isn’t fundamental enough to hamper ones career prospects.


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