Regional rises: who has increased so far?

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Legal Cheek rounds up the key NQ pay movers outside the capital

While the City pay war continues to grab headlines, pay in regional offices is also steadily climbing with some rookies now earning base pay of £68,000.

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP) was first to announce that its Manchester juniors would receive a pay rise early this year, with pay for newly qualified (NQ) solicitors moving to £51,000.

But last month when DLA Piper raised salaries for NQs in the City, it also raised rates in the regions to £65,000, in turn putting pressure on other firms to make similar moves. A week later Squire Patton Boggs and Eversheds Sutherland responded by putting its NQs on £55,000 and £62,0000, respectively.

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In Simmons & Simmons‘ Bristol branch, meanwhile, juniors now start lawyer life on a base rate of £68,000 following a 22% uplift late last year.

Though regional pay for juniors does not reach the dizzy six-figure heights of those in the City, your cash does tend to go further. It is estimated that the average person’s living costs in Leeds sits at £1,500 per month, while the average property price comes in at little under £240,000. In London, meanwhile, average living costs are said to be almost double at £2,900 while a house will set you back, again on average, a whopping £682,000.

Following all the recent regional pay rises, see below for how the firms compare.

FirmTrainee pay (Year 1)Trainee pay (Year 2)NQ base rate
BCLPManchester: £30,000Manchester: £35,000Manchester: £51,000
CMSBristol: £41,500; Manchester and Sheffield: £30,000; Edinburgh and Glasgow: £26,775Bristol: £42,525; Manchester and Sheffield: £33,075; Edinburgh and Glasgow: £29,925Bristol: £61,000; Manchester and Sheffield: £51,750; Edinburgh and Glasgow: £51,750
DLA PiperAll regional offices: £30,000All regional offices: £33,000All regional offices: £65,000
Eversheds SutherlandAll regional offices: £28,500All regional offices: £31,000All regional offices: £62,000
Gowling WLGBirmingham: £29,000Birmingham: £32,000Birmingham: £52,000
Simmons & SimmonsBristol: £40,500Bristol: £42,500Bristol: £68,000
Squire Patton BoggsAll regional offices: £30,000All regional offices: £33,000All regional offices: £55,000
Trowers & HamlinsAll regional offices: £30,000All regional offices: £32,000All regional offices: £50,000
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Must say – Evershed’s, for what they are, are offering a very competitive rate in the City and regions. I was offered £80,000 as a 2 PQE in one of their regional offices recently, which I think is pretty decent.



Hmmm. Which office and in which practice area/product group? Find it hard to believe that they would pay a 2pqe £80k when I know of 14pqe associates at the Shed currently earning £15k less than that and who have been told a post April pay rise is likely to be 15%



I worked at the Shed as a 4yr PQE at £50k in a regional office, most likely because I didn’t qualify there and therefore didn’t attract the rate they advertise with. This was a few years ago but even on inflation my salary wouldn’t touch the advertised NQ rate. I imagine they’ve distinguished between their best offers in particular high earning teams. The Shed have never been the type to go with fairness across the board.



Probs worth noting that lawyers’ salaries in general have gone up a lot more than inflation in recent years, so not sure you’re right to come to those conclusions based on a salary you had a few years ago.



I work at ES in a regional office, just turned 4 years pqe. I’m on a shade over £53k in a busy team (not corp)

T. Roll

Just get a job with a US firm and ask to work fully remotely. Duh.

£161k + bonus as an NQ goes pretty far up north.


Long Live the Regional Pay War

Thanks for putting the spotlight on regional salaries LC.

Too long have the regions been neglected with regards to pay – firms generally paid the same amount in the regions despite significant increases in the city and different tiers dependent on the firms ranking.

Now there appears to be a genuine tier system developing and I’m looking forward to seeing which firms make further moves.


Refreshing news

Hear, hear! Refreshing to learn that it’s a possibility to earn a perfectly decent wage not toiling away in a city shop.

Hopefully this encourages students to expand their horizons when applying for TCs



Pinsents have confirmed they are matching Eversheds at £62k in the regions – apparently on an office leads call this week, to be announced shortly. About time.


Out of Date Yoghurt

This better not be guff, don’t give us false hope



Raise to £62k in the regions and keep it at £72k in London?

Lmao those City boys are gonna love it 😂



Where was this heard?



Hats off to DLA. Bold move.


London lad

Regions is dead 💀



Meanwhile, Blake Morgan rests on its laurels and wonders why it loses junior lawyers in droves… No movement in regional NQ salaries since 2018…


The Optimist

Walker Morris have said they will match market rates but probably an uplift billables from the very generous 1200 they currently have.

No announcement as yet though.


Bang the drum, while you hum, chew your gum, with no salad on the kebab

The market has changed in the regions though.

What used to be pretty much similar salaries (45-50k), is now (47-68k).

Means Walker Morris could pick anywhere between thay



Considering London firms don’t want to seem to push the return to work as hard as they should be doing, it’s about time the distinction between London weighting and regional salaries was abolished. No London lawyer justifies their salary working from home outside the city.


Goddleshaw Addard

AG also rumoured to be matching Eversheds at £62k in the regions. Be interesting to see what the likes of CMS, Fieldfisher and the National firms do in reply particular when some of those were playing catch up with DLA last year and announced much more modest bumps just before DLA announced the big hike.


I wonder

Yeah it will be interesting to see which firms can afford to push a bit further.

Many nationals just about reached 50k this year.


Kirkland NQ

When I told my cleaner that there are lawyers earning less than her, she laughed her head off. Clearing away empty bottles of vintage Krug after my house parties doesn’t seem as bad now.



Not sure how Simmons can justify 68k in Bristol!?



That is literally the NQ rate for Kennedys ahahahahha


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