London NQ lawyer pay reaches £164,000

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By Aishah Hussain on


Akin Gump joins pay war with new converted rate

The City associate salary war is showing no signs of abating. Akin Gump has made tweaks to its conversion rate that place its newly qualified (NQ) solicitors at the very top of the NQ pay table — for now.

Just last month we reported the firm had upped NQ rates in London to £159,000 ($215,000), based on a conversion rate of £1 = $1.3553 from January to March.

The firm has now opted for a more favourable rate of £1 = $1.3109 meaning its new associates in London get paid roughly £164.000. That’s almost THREE times their second year trainee salaries of £62,500. First year trainees at the firm earn £57,500.

The new exchange rate is understood to apply from April to June, as the firm is said to review the rate every three months. The new London NQ rate could hold or fluctuate from July.

The 2022 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

Those further up the ladder are cashing in too. Lawyers with one and two years post qualification experience (PQE) are set to earn £172,000 and £191,000, while those with three years PQE will now earn £225,000. Check out what other firms are paying associates beyond NQ level.

Today’s news puts Akin Gump’s new qualifiers in prime position of the NQ pay league, as can be found in our 2022 Firms Most List. Only a handful of firms pay £160k or more upon qualification, and they are Gibson Dunn (£161,700), Goodwin Procter (£161,500), Davis Polk (£160,000), which raised just this week, and Fried Frank (£160,000). Several other US firms are understood to pay in the same region.

Readers face stiff competition to secure a training contract at Akin Gump as the firm offers just six training contracts in the London office each year.

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