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Mishcon raises NQ lawyer pay to £90k

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Pay war rages on

Mishcon de Reya has increased newly qualified (NQ) solicitor pay by 8%.

NQs in the firm’s London office will now earn £90,000 from £83,000, effective 1 July 2022.

The move means that Mishcon’s new associates now earn the same as those at Ince and Stephenson Harwood. They’ll earn £2,000 more than those at Bird & Bird, where NQ pay is currently £88,000, and £3,000 more than those at Shoosmiths, who increased NQ pay earlier this week to £87,000.

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Mishcon said in a statement:

“We keep compensation under constant review at Mishcon de Reya and, in this particularly buoyant market, want to ensure that we do all that we can to attract the best talent and to reward our people for their continued contribution to our firm.”

A pay war has been waging across the City in recent months, driven in part by the mega-paying US law firms in London where NQ salaries can stretch to over £160,000. It’s extended to the regions, too, and recent Legal Cheek coverage rounded up the key NQ pay movers beyond the capital.

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54 Comments

Anon

What is going on with CC, A&O and Linklaters? Currently at one of those firms as a 2PQ and now being paid the same as a Freshfields NQ. We were told no new increases in May – even slaughters are ahead now.

(50)(1)

Anon

Supposedly internally at CC it’s known that will be going up to 125k in July but yet to be officially announced

(11)(0)

Have you heard of the Tenga Egg?

Typically/historically make announcements in June for mid year pay review, and should up to £125k.

(1)(0)

Bob

My expectation at CC are decent pay rises next month, probably somewhere between SM and FBD, in line with usual pay rise cycle.

(0)(0)

Freedom of Information

Is it really that hard to ask Mishcon what the 1-3PQE rates are and state in the article that you’ve done so? Or is your ‘journalism’ just copying articles from The Lawyer?

It’s such an easy thing to do and could help salaries (or at least transparency) for junior lawyers. Why won’t you do it?

(63)(2)

Anonymous

1 PQE salary is £83k.

(9)(1)

Anonymous too

What will that rise to in July? Or are you saying that 1 PQE will earn less than a NQ?

(2)(2)

Grow Up

If firms were actually proud of their PQE banding (which I imagine none are) I’m sure they would be shouting it from the rooftops.

You really think that The Lawyer, Legal Cheek etc.. haven’t tried approaching firms for info on banding and just received a fat ‘its competitive’ in return? Don’t be so silly.

(25)(10)

Anonymous

Mishcon salary bunch hard. Don’t expect more than a 3-4k increase per year of PQE if that. But they all do it. Silver circle are more like 5k increments, MC are more like 10k increments.
Legal Cheek have in all fairness already commented on this – they have asked, repeatedly and the firms refuse to reveal anything but the headline figure.

(9)(2)

Anonymous

The PQE yearly increase seems to be 1k lol.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

I am at a large international firm earning a high wage. I really don’t care anymore because my mental health is in utter shambles. We need to be paid our worth, so I say keep the salary war going, but as an industry can we also focus more on mental health? We need to stop pretending that firms really care. They don’t. I haven’t met a single solicitor yet that says they are happy. It’s not the clients that are the problem. It’s the politics, the management, the internal pressures, unfair criticism, the HR departments that do absolutely nothing about the bullying, favouritism, the shady supervisor that is happy to log off at 6pm everyday but expects you to work late, and sets you up for failure.

Honestly – I’ve had enough. If something doesn’t change soon (and it seems unlikely that it will), I will just take a pay cut and do something else.

(82)(4)

MC ass

You can go in house or to a different firm. Not every firm or department has that kind of culture.

(27)(17)

Anon

Law firms are ruled by psychopaths.

(38)(1)

US firm 3PQE

‘I haven’t met a single solicitor yet that says they are happy’.

Wow. Spot on and agreed. Freshers, if you’re reading this, run away from law.

The more I look back, the more I wish I’d done accountancy. Yes, the pay is abysmal but at least it’s easy to pivot into business with a financial background after a couple of years. When you’ve trained as a lawyer, people see you as a risk-averse intellectual who doesn’t understand the business world. Instead of becoming a pro in company accounts, I spent my training contract doing redlines and signature packs…

(48)(12)

anon

People in law complain so much. Yes, it can be hard, but get over yourself.

Average Dr working full-time on NHS – £65k.
Major in the Army – £54k (on appointment to rank).
Superintendent in Police – £72k (on appointment to rank).
5 year PQE airline pilot working for a major flag carrier – £75k-£85k (pre Covid)
PM (regardless of what you think of him) – £164k.

I remember the onboarding process when I was starting as a trainee at a US law firm. Everyone in the trainee group chat was worried about putting down their employment history because they had never had a real job. As in a part-time salaried position. They had only ever done vacation schemes. They had never worked in retail or in a cafe. They had never swept floors or wiped dirty surfaces, or worked a 12+ hour shift on their feet. This is probably why they think law is so hard.

Just stop then. Get out. Why are you 3PQE at a US law firm if it’s so awful?
No other group of people who earn 6 figures at 23/24 complains so much. I’ve got a friend who packed in becoming a dr. He called me on the phone one night at about 7pm to tell me he had decided to quit. I was turning docs whilst watching Netflix earning 140K. It’s really not that bad.

(121)(14)

Anon enjoyer

I am overjoyed to read something that parries the endless self pity on here. Bravo

(64)(6)

Associate

Also enjoy this, stop wining and quit. Go do something that makes you happy and stops your complaining about it. Leave it to the rest of us who like what we are doing.

(26)(4)

Goodstuff

Thank god for this comment. I’m a 7PQE lawyer at a big US firm and I’m there because for now, all things considered, I’ve chosen that path. I’ve worked 300+ hour months and all that, and if I whinge, I whinge just to vent and knowing that sitting behind that whinge is an ability to walk away at any time and pull beers or sell jeans or make soap or sell my sexy bits (along with the rest of me).

We are incredibly fortunate. I am paid an insane amount of money to put words on a page and argue points for sophisticated and smart clients. There are some lawyers who are crazy and awful but I’m in this business still (after being sure I’d do something else after 3-4 years) because I work with smart, decent people and they make me better. I don’t spend my time helping wankers avoid tax, nor do I solve world hunger – the work is generally just a-moral transactional lubricant. And that’s really it.

Anyone who is in their mid-20s on more than about £60k a year is doing bloody well. And the most liberating thing I started to understand from the start of my 30s (a few years ago) was my own complete unimportance to the universe. Once you make peace with your own insignificance, this beautiful little life of each of ours starts to seem that little more special.

(17)(1)

Anonymous

You have completely missed the point. It is not the job that stressed out solicitors can’t handle.

(1)(6)

Everything Hurts

I can tell you the pay cut won’t help the mental health if you stay in law. I’m at a small City firm earning a bottom of the market salary e.g. our NQs are on probably double the average UK income, but that barely lets you live on your own in Zone 3 or 4 London.

I keep getting great performance reviews and offered top tier work in my specialism, which means working the exact same hours as those slogging away in the MC/SC firms. I also keep losing relationships, my physical health has been crap for years and I can’t remember the last time I was happy.

But my supervisors are happy and I’m mentioned in the Legal 500 submissions, so that means I’m winning, right?

(15)(6)

MC Lawyer

You ain’t working MC hours hun

(16)(7)

Sarah

Why would you carry on at that firm then if you’re so unhappy…if you don’t like it then leave. Simples.

(2)(0)

bob

If you want an easier career with less hours, leave law and accept lower salary.

Not sure why everyone thinks they deserve both mega money and a nice easy life?

(2)(0)

Anonymous

Happy to play the vulture and help you get out of there if its that bad! #recruiter

(0)(2)

no thanks

tweedy three piece wearing spiv

(2)(0)

MC Future Pupil

Just go to the bar

(2)(1)

US firm associate

Hate to say it but I think the pay war is fizzling out. The legal market is nowhere near as hot as it was last year and everyone is pessimistic about M&A etc in the next few months at least given the state of the world economy. Less demand for legal services means less need to shower associates with money (and possibly even cutbacks as firms look to reduce overheads).

Yes, there’ll still be articles on some firms (especially UK ones) increasing salaries. But the real movers are the US firms and I haven’t heard anything to suggest further raises or crazy bonuses this year. Now it’s more the Magic Circle and UK regionals playing catch-up a few months late

(38)(4)

Anon

As a US corporate associate – have a good view of US pay.

While agreed that the pay war at the very very top is slowing down in its growth (think spot exchange rate firms like K&E, Akin Gump), the question amongst a lot of US associates is why their firm says they pay the standard Cravath scale but actually they’re being shortchanged, eg:

– Latham: NQs get less than £150k, because of an artificially low fixed exchange rate set by the firm
– STB: exchange rate not as bad as Latham but also fixed and lower than what it should be
– Weil: outright has given up on paying standard US rate
– Ropes: falls off the Cravath scale, especially at more senior levels
– Milbank: fixes at a bad exchange rate too but somewhat better pay than Latham still

The egregious offenders at the top US elites of this would be Weil and Latham if I had to pick.

(19)(0)

anon

Whilst this may be true, Latham actually has a handful of top practices, and many respectable practices.
Sure, V&E, K&E and Akin Gump pay a bit more – but they’re good at about 1 or 2 things. Would still pick Latham for the CV and diversity of good teams as a junior lawyer.

Also, I’m under the impression that Latham has a weird 5-year floating rate system. So over the next few years it should be dragged up by the improved exchange rate. May be mistaken, but this is definitely what they used to do.

(12)(4)

Anon

Unfortunately Latham has a 5-year floating but it’s collared as well. If you take the last 5 years’ average, it’s a better rate than the 1.45 Latham does. But the Latham rate is now 1.45 as that’s the limit of their “collar”. It’s somewhat ridiculous given spot rate of about 1.23 (obviously the lower the better).

(9)(0)

US Associate

Latham are going to start hemorrhaging top talent if they dont sort out this exchange rate.

(7)(3)

anon

No, they’re not. Legalcheek comments do not correspond to reality, sorry.
Latham is arguably the most successful US shop in London. If you read other legal publications, you’ll see that this year they’ve expanded at a ridiculous rate and that they’ve attracted top talent from other UK and US law firms. These lawyers aren’t going, ‘nah, I’ll pass on that position at Latham, it’s exchange rate is a bit weak’.

(21)(4)

Ropes 2 PQE

What your saying makes no sense, the fact that they’re so much more successful makes it even more striking that they underpay due to exchange rate.

If they were struggling, using a bad exchange rate to preserve profitability would make sense.

Get it?

Anonymousse

If you were actually a US associate – or indeed any associate with a basic understanding of the legal market – you’d realise that’s an insane comment to make. Latham is an extraordinarily successful firm which pays vast amounts of money to people in exchange for access to market-leading work and top infrastructure (BD, HR, PAs etc.). Nobody in their right mind is going to leave for some ten-partner outpost like V&E or Akin, or a toxic sweatshop like K&E, unless they have *very* good reasons to do so.

There’s this mysterious idea on this website that lawyers (a) go wherever the money is highest; and (b) simply walk into whichever job they want. I don’t know where the overexcited law students who populate this place get this notion from, but let’s make it absolutely clear – it’s not true.

(4)(1)

K&E Insider

K&E pay is higher than what is advertised on LC they need to update this

(4)(3)

I love $$$ more than anyone but

K&E has super high turnover in comparison to even other US shops – lots of people leaving including being pushed. 6-18 month standard cash grab. I had an offer there, and went elsewhere (to another quite lower rated US firm, not for a life of Mischons) – maybe it would make sense if you’re a senior associate to get soon promoted to “partner”, or want to lateral there as “partner” i.e. senior associate in all but name, and you’re getting way more cash even for a short stint – but for me moving as a junior, it doesn’t make sense. They make quite a lot of mediocre hires from mid market firms at the junior end who weren’t performing at their old shops. Everyone has their eyes open who goes there – it’s midnight finishes, every weekend and you can only give a toss about this crap for so long before you burn out or get pushed out. That’s not to say the people I met were goblins, and by all accounts the culture is actually very good.

(3)(1)

Joker

I both agree and disagree with “US firm associate” (who is certainly not a US firm associate, not that position gives anyone special insight).

The lateral market last year (i.e. the year which was supposedly amazing) was actually sh1te at all levels in all practice areas, notwithstanding that some firms ended up with record years. From December 2021 to date, the lateral market has been white hot – and it is still white hot. Everyone is hiring in almost every area at most levels. Thus the insinuation that the market is slowing or firms are slowing hiring / have less demand for associates is total and utter offensive bulls1ht and should be called out as such.

And the impression given that everyone’s big PE clients are just twiddling their thumbs at the moment? GTFO – everyone is totally slammed. One or two US firms might have some slowing in their M&A teams, but it’s not across market (yet), and it’s not at all practice areas.

Also US firms have had an absolute exodus of associates this year and last. It’s been like a bowling alley with the associates as the pins.

And the money is set by a couple of top US firms, the rest of the US firms match and then get parity at some perverted exchange rate. So the money may up by $10k this year in line with costs of living, it may not as the $ is so strong and we’re all tinkering into a recession and there’s uncertainty perhaps in making the move by Milbank or Cravath or whatever at this time.

Agree with the anon post after re the salary discrepancy of various US firms. It’s outrageous to the extent you’re at a sweatshop like Weil, and make no mistake, in some areas, Weil is Satan’s rectal tube just like K&E, and if K&E associates are paid more, and actually substantially more, you just want burn down the entire firm. But I would go as far to say most US firms are not quite full K&E in “we own you” terms. If you’re at Covington doing lit, you’re probably doing a 9-9 12 hour day, very little weekend work, which is not full K&E M&A every weekend, last 18 months, 2400-2600 billable year.

(1)(6)

Response to joker

Joker, your a joke, just shut up

(0)(0)

It doesn't have to be this way

@8.57 am

I’m sorry to hear that. Have you considered trying the regions? Much less money of course but still very high salaries for the area. Sensible hours. Decent work colleagues and a much happier vibe – I literally dont know anyone who feels the way you do about their work and their colleagues.

Plus you get the chance to live in some of the nicest parts of the country with an easy choice between city and rural life or a mix of both.

Either way hope your situation improves as that sounds terrible!

(28)(1)

Associate

“We keep compensation under constant review at Mishcon de Reya and, in this particularly buoyant market, want to ensure that we do all that we can to attract the best talent and to reward our people for their continued contribution to our firm.”

Actually reads as:

“We keep compensation as low as possible for as long as possible at Mishcon de Reya and, in this particularly annoying market, want to ensure that we do all that we can to just about keep the pace, bring in some average talent and keep the golden handcuffs on people until a better offer comes along .”

(39)(2)

Anon

I read it even worse – “we’re only increasing because we were forced to, none of you are worth that”

(11)(0)

Lol

ES is on 95k now for NQs, legal cheek needs to update. It’s like we have to keep more up to date than them lol

(4)(3)

Eh?

It says 95k on their website https://www.legalcheek.com/firm/eversheds/

(1)(1)

Lol

Oh didn’t see, thanks

(0)(5)

Private Client Associate

Mishcon blowing the other Private Client firms out the water with this

(20)(0)

Fabius

Firms whose sole focus is private client, yes. Firms that have top tier private client practices and corporate practices, then no.

(0)(1)

PCA

Withers – 77k
Farrers – 72k

Mishcon going to 90k isn’t significantly outdoing then?

(0)(2)

PCA

Withers – 77k
Farrers – 72k

Mishcon going to 90k isn’t significantly outdoing then?

(0)(1)

Anon

Whether Mishcon is silver circle has always been a point of contention (thought they certainly like to think of themselves as silver circle) but with their NQ salary lagging so far behind the other silver circle firms (by about 10-15k) it’s hard to see how they could even argue this anymore. Either they’re in the SC league and can keep up or they can’t…

For a firm like Mishcon, especially when compared to supposedly similar size/status firms and their NQ salaries, this increase seems lacking

(4)(6)

Anon

Mishcon mainly do private client work for which this is very decent whack and hours. Silver circles doing transactional banking and corporate will be working MC/US hours without the same pay

(7)(0)

4PQE City Lawyer

TOTALLY AGREE! I’m in a mid sized city firm and although I do work long hours I am so grateful to at least be paid well for it. I remember working night shifts for a document services company as a student scanning in property deeds which I had to manually unbind and left my fingers bleeding all for just £6/hr! With the current cost of living crisis going on at the moment, overpaid solicitors really do need to get a grip. It’s embarrassing.

(3)(0)

Kirkland NQ

I spend that much on a night out

(1)(3)

Lol

Wow, you’ll be broke soon then. You don’t footballer money mate, you’re not mbappe

(3)(0)

Anon

Mishcon now way ahead of other West End law firms. Will other such firms follow?

(2)(7)

Comments are closed.