Open thread: What UK firms are REALLY paying associates beyond NQ level

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By Legal Cheek on


Share your insider salary info below the line

Newly qualified (NQ) solicitor salaries have long been reported in the legal press and used as a means to draw in talent and differentiate between the high-performing firms.

UK firms tend to publicly disclose what they pay their trainee and NQ lawyers (a full breakdown can be found in our Firms Most List) but not much is known beyond these headline figures and what they pay associates further up the PQE (post-qualified experience) ladder.

This information seems to be readily available in the US but is a lot harder to come-by in the UK, leading some of our commenters to call for greater transparency to “stop these law firms from just flashing and flexing” their shiny NQ pay figures. “Would be good to get as close as possible to the transparency standard in the American BigLaw market,” one commenter wrote.

The 2022 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

There have been reports, however, that the recent spate of NQ pay rises (some firms raised salaries THREE times last year) have given rise to “salary bunching” at some UK firms, whereby the difference in remuneration is rather negligible the further you go up the associate ranks, particularly in terms of take-home pay.

So we’re calling on you, our trusty readers, many of whom will work for UK law firms, to share your insider knowledge in the Legal Cheek comments section below. The aim is to provide an overview by firm (London or regions), department, class year and salary (base plus bonus for the latest financial year).

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