NQ pay latest: Addleshaw moves to £95k, while RPC boosts to £85k in commercial team and £80k in insurance

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Rises in regions too

Addleshaw Goddard and RPC have become the latest law firms to up the salaries of their newly qualified (NQ) lawyers in London and the regions.

AG confirmed base rates for NQs in London will move from £82,000 to £95,000, an uplift of 16%.

The Legal Cheek Firms Most List 2022 shows the pay boost — effective from September 2022 — will put the outfit’s City lot level with their opposite numbers at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, CMS, DLA Piper, Norton Rose Fulbright and Squire Patton Boggs.

Those in AG’s Leeds and Manchester offices will see salaries swell by almost a quarter from £50,000 to £62,000, while their counterparts in Scotland will start life as a lawyer on £56,000 — an 18% rise from £47,500.

John Joyce, Addleshaw Goddard managing partner, said:

“To be a destination business for talented, ambitious people we need and want to remain really competitive on pay and will therefore increase salaries again this year across our business. But salary is only one important part of the equation when it comes to career choices. Supporting people to be the best they can be in a flexible, collaborative environment, with interesting work, whilst also seeing to it that salaries and bonus payments fairly recognise everyone’s efforts, are all, I believe real points of differentiation for us.”

RPC, meanwhile, confirmed NQ rates in London are also on the up; £70,000 to £85,000 for those in the firm’s commercial group, and £70,000 to £80,000 in the insurance division. These equate to increases of 21% and 14%, respectively.

The 2022 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

Elsewhere, juniors in Bristol will enjoy a bump of 14%, from £49,000 to £56,000. The rises will take effect from 1 July.

“As a firm we remain committed to continue to support our people and clients achieve their ambitions,” RPC managing partner James Mille said. “Providing a competitive pay coupled with our people-centric culture which includes enhanced wellbeing and supporting career progression will enable us to retain and attract top talent to deliver against our ambitious growth plans.”

The move comes just days after Freshfields set down a new pay marker for its magic circle rivals, upping NQ base rates by a whopping 25% to £125,000.

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Pinsets and Shoosmiths have to make a move soon or they will lose their footholds in the regions


Manchester Ship Canal

The fact Shooeys and Pinsents are being named together shows how the reputation of the latter is in danger. No offence to Shooeys.



Shoosmiths already pay more than Pinsets in London and regions



Pinsents pride themselves on being financially astute, but if they drag their heels they’ll put off new recruits and push people out the door… it’s already happening in London. A £40 pay rise for same work (despite fluffy image, Pinsents expect hard work) will become a no brainer…



Absolutely bang on.



5k difference between teams? Could they be any cheaper if they tried.


More raises from everyone thank you very much

Will this dick swinging contest ever stop? I for sure hope not



Your move Pinsents…



Don’t hold your breath


"Effective from September 2022"

“Effective from September 2022”



Another round of pay war increases? I’m here all for it.


Arctic Moneys

One for the road, ooh-ooh


Drinks all around

This pay war is INSANE.

9 months ago, Addleshaw Goddard paid London NQs £75,000.

Then they upped to £82,000.

Now to £95,000.

A year ago £95,000 was MC territory…



It is, but a lot of firms have had bumper profits. And from what I’ve heard from friends working at this tier of firm the hours have got noticeably worse.


Kirkland NQ

£75k? I assume that’s a joke? How would one even afford to travel commercial first class on such a pittance let alone consider even chartering a jet for holidaying in the Côte d’Azur? Would your butler even respect you if you earn barely more than he does?


"I'm back, b**ches!"

Please go away


Insurance observer

Are you going to join the party DACB & Kennedys?



How much do Kennedys pay at NQ anyway? Always found them a bit strange in the sense that there’s not much info on their NQ pay. Even legal cheek lists it as “undisclosed”


in the know

It is because they are well aware they do not pay the market rate in the City due to the dominance of their insurer client base (who we all know are the cheapest clients out there). A few insurance-heavy firms in the City do this.

I would be surprised if their NQ pay was any higher than 60k, although that may now shift in light of the current market and people jumping ship at their direct competitor, BLM (or, for those that remain post-merger, about to get a 35-ish% increase to the new £80k).

But don’t worry, you’ll still work City litigation life hours.


Pay war observer

Sounds great but this was well overdue for AG AND this only takes effect from September.

The rise in the regions is significant as they have a strong foothold up north. 62k in Leeds as an NQ is a great salary (especially for the mortgage calculator).

RPC’s notable 5k difference across teams is important as it demonstrates that the insurance field just cannot keep up. Even Clydes are at 80k.

Next few months will be interesting for: Pinsent Masons (insanely overdue), Charles Russel Speechlys and the rest of the MC firms.

PS. salary bunching is the real story which is STILL being neglected.



Anyone have any idea what the banding will be at 1/2/3 PQE at AG now?


Bunchin o’ bands

96, 97, 98 probably



Surely there’s no way Pinsents don’t match this…



When they actually eventually wake up, Pinsent will do the very least they can get away with.



Pinsent Masons what the hell!? We are tired of waiting. Anyway, l’ll just go back to preparing for my upcoming lateral interview



Or back to your contact law notes, fresher.


Silly Fresher



Jamal Islam

Everyone talking about Pinsents here lol – Their R&I London team has seen a mass exodus to US firms – not surprised.

Their recruitment policy in recent times has been to hire people from the regions who would be delighted with £75k at NQ, but not long before even they start the dolllaaaarrr


Keenly considering my options

Literally and with AG paying £62k in the regions now £75k isn’t enough to tempt a move to London



If Pinsents, don’t at least match AG very soon they will hemorrhage staff. Almost everyone is speaking to recruiters already.



Offered a 50% bump + sign-on to lateral away, yep that’s enough for me



Surely Watson Farley should’ve increased by now too? Smh

And is the reason pinset masons hasn’t increased due to work life balance or something? Lol


Interested party

I’m seeing a lot of people reference tiers – what firms fall into this AG tier? And could someone be very helpful and list out these various tiers of British firms? Ofc, MC/SC are one. Will be interesting to see how these tiers differ for different people lol


Kirkland NQ

Only tears are from jealousy for those working at these sweatshops earning a pittance while us US big boys get the glory and the money.



You’re probably a fresher at Oxford Brookes Uni and got a 2:2 in your first year. Pipe down.



How can a fresher have gotten 2:2 in their first year? Are they not in the first year currently? Moron



US, MC, SC, Large International, Mid City, Boutique, High Street



There are no defined tiers.

Generally you have Magic Circle/Silver Circle.

After that you have those that were once MC/SC or people still consider them to be – i.e Slaughter & May, Hogans Lovells, Norton Rose.

Then you’d have the international firms with a large UK presence i.e. DLA Piper, Baker McKenzie, CMS

Then you have the silver circle chasing pack, – Simmons, Macfarlanes, Travers Smith,

Then you have the mid-tier – Pinsents, Eversheds, Clydes, Addleshaws, Fieldfisher, Bird & Bird, Wombles, DWF, Taylor Wessing.

Anything then between £100-300m revenue you’d classify as lower mid-tier.

Anything below that isn’t worth speaking about.


what on earth are you on about dude

Macfarlanes and Travers have always been SC firms…
No one has ever thought of NRF as a SC firm…
“The Lawyer initially named only Ashurst, Macfarlanes, SJ Berwin and Travers Smith as the silver circle’s four core members.”


Realest Realist

Great name, but rubbish comment.



Macfarlanes and Travers are Silver Circle firms.


helpful bot

the original 2005 article was published before you were born, but here is a more recent article that explains what has happened since. you’re welcome!



Travers and Macfarlanes below DLA? Interesting comment lol…



Macs & Travers at the top of that tree. Both SC and regarded with perhaps more prestige than MC given smaller deal teams and more responsibility for juniors.


Your comment is funny

Suggesting travers at times is more prestigious that MC’s or high tier silver tiers such as HSF is comedic




We need to get more transparency on this and stop these law firms from just flashing and flexing with 1 figure for NQ. Would be good to get as close as possible to the transparency standard in the American BigLaw market.


RPC Associate

Finally. A long wait until July now.



Is that reall gonna make you stay though? If I was RPC insurance associate I would be pissed


RPC Associate

It’ll do. It is now vaguely within the realms of competitors / similar firms and for all we like to b*tch about salary RPC is a great firm to work for. I’m not willing to upturf/disturb my life for the sake of £10k or so more elsewhere. At £20-25k it was a different story and a greater temptation. Onwards and upwards.



Lol okay so long you’re happy



Over to you Shoosmiths……



Why would anyone want to work for Pinsents now. Management take note, your retention rate for 2022 is about to be very embarrassing. NQs are are being made to apply for jobs without even knowing the salary, how do they know it’s even worth the effort of applying? Meanwhile being hounded by recruiters everyday



We don’t talk to pinsets no no no no….



We don’t talk to pinsets no no no no….


Wannabee RPC

What’re the 1-5 year PQE salaries for RPC?



“Merit based.” Also known as “how little can we get away with paying you.” Firm hasn’t committed to increase salaries across the board by at least a similar percentage to the NQ increase either.

My understanding is that salary tends to increase by 4-8% each year, and that promotions don’t make much of a difference to this.


Real talk

NQ salary raises are meaningless if they’re not matched by commensurate raises at more senior levels.

I’d bet that all the bands above NQ at AG (and all the other firms in same bracket) will be bunched together within a (max) 40k range. Noticeable that there aren’t many non-NQs hooting about raises in the comments.



At the end of day, if you’re good and the firm or practice you’re at is not shet, just lateral. You seen it many times, no issue



Is Kennedys the only firm refusing to raise salaries? Going to be great when all their associates leave to do the same work for 20k more.



Kennedys never disclose their salaries.

Same with DWF.

They’re both very secretive about what they pay their NQs which tells you all you need to know



DWF doesn’t really have an NQ rate. It has a rate it pays to its own qualifying NQs, which (as with RPC and Clyde’s) is dependant on practice area. But since it has usually got a fairly mediocre retention rate and has to grow to support the share price, it fills the gaps with laterals and pays them less where it can. This is very prevalent in insurance teams who typically hire from claimant side firms in the regions that pay much lower rates. If you’re an NQ in corporate or commercial you’re looking at £46k in the regions and £78k in London. Full disclosure I don’t know if these figures are up to the minute but should give prospective trainees/laterals a clue.



No, TLT not budging from a measly £73k in London. Most juniors have one foot out the door.



The unreported story re. AG is that all of us above NQ level are still totally in dark about new pay scale – management haven’t decided yet apparently (aka they’re trying to work out what’s the lowest the can get away with).


Regional in the know

By the time they get around to figuring it out, they’ll be behind on the nq rate again


Curious 4pqe

Anyone know what is happening at CMS or BCLP?



Nothing is happening lol. For a US firm BCLP pay is low



Nothing is happening lol. For a US firm BCLP pay is low



Nothing is happening lol. For a US firm, BCLP pay is low, greedy mfs!



If Pinsents don’t move soon they’ll be overtaken by the NHS.

NQ doctor salary £29k. GP salary £70k. Consultant salary £85k.

Next stop, P&O recruitment agency


Up north

In the regions you have AG and Eversheds at 62k and DLA at 65k. Heard a rumour linsents are going to 62. Who else are we waiting on? CMS, BCLP, SS?



Anyone know what AG pay a managing associate in Manchester?


I know a guy

There’s no set rate but over the last 18 months or so £80k wouldn’t be far off what you could expect. Probably a smidge higher when the new NQ rate comes in later this year.


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