Squire Patton Boggs bumps NQ rates to £100k from January 2023

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£65k in the regions

Ohio-headquartered Squire Patton Boggs has revealed it will increase the salaries of its newly qualified (NQ) solicitors in London to £100,000.

The boost of £5,000 equates to an extra 5% for its newbie associates.

Effective from January 2023, the Legal Cheek Firms Most List shows the move will eventually put its London NQs on the same cash as their equivalents at Macfarlanes, Simmons & Simmons and Travers Smith.

Meanwhile, NQs in the firm’s regional offices — Birmingham, Leeds, and Manchester — will also see their salaries rise a hefty 18% from £55,000 to £65,000.

In February, the international outfit increased pay to £95,000 and £55,000 for London and regional NQs, respectively. This followed uplifts to trainee salaries across its UK offices the month before. This increase put London trainees on £47,000 in their first year and £50,000 in their second year, while their peers in the regions earn £30,000 and £33,000.

The 2022 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

Squires has also confirmed 21 of its 23 trainees received permanent roles at the firm, giving the firm an annual retention score of 91%. They have qualified into a range of practice areas including corporate, financial services, intellectual property & technology, international dispute resolution, litigation, competition, data privacy & cybersecurity, environmental safety & health, real estate, labour & employment, and tax.

Giles Chesher, the firm’s training principal commented:

“We are committed to providing competitive pay and distinguishing ourselves with a culture that places the highest value on people’s development and well-being. This is reflected by our ability to retain almost all of our trainees, with everyone who applied receiving a permanent role at the firm.”



Not bad. Not bad at all.


Can't be real??

SPB ahead of AG, ES and PM. Never thought I would see the day. Can’t wait to see if others react


Can't be real??

Having said that, not effective for a while and will probably be behind by the time it’s effective. Why would they announce a pay rise now that doesn’t take effect for over 7 months. You can’t possibly know what the market will look like then.


Joe Boggs

Just looks tight not raising now…


Legally bold

They are not technically ahead until January 2023. DLA’s pay rise took effect in Jan, sheds in May and PM is due in September by which point they will all have gone up again. Jokes on SPB



£70k regions incoming


Gordon Ramsay

Okay leaving this raise for Jan 2023 is mad – BUT SPB OFFERING 100k DAMNN

Silver circles can’t faff around at 100-105k anymore.



Can see the SC moving to say the110-120k range tbh. They seemed keen to close the gap when MC moved to 107k so lets see what happens next.


Holy Moly.



It’s on


Cravath scale associate

An announcement for Jan 2023 in May 2022. Either you have the most incompetent payroll team or you’re stingy af 😂


Average Pay War Enjoyer

Can’t see anyone else in that bracket moving now, this was due with how stingy SPB had been in the regions. Pressure on the other 90-somthing firms is around bunching now, can’t be having multiple PQE on less than an SPB NQ



SPB = the Cravath of the middling UK firms.


Kirkland NQ




Kirkland NQ back to turning comments until 3 am you go.



The risk of announcing a Jan 2023 rise now is you get left behind during such a long wait. This is a bit of a panic move to add a new headline figure and look good early. I think it will backfire in the long run.


Lisa Smith

Why do you think it will backfire?



If you announce a Jan 23 raise, and presumably want to keep that salary structure in place for say 12 months, announcing that 8 months before it actually comes in means you run the risk of other firms raising beyond you in that time period. SPB inevitably either have to raise again and look stupid for trying to pull a fast one, or stick to their original salary budget and fall behind in the market.



How bizarre to make the announcement now with the pay only taking effect from January? A lot can happen during that time… I wonder which firms will react. Betting on it going up to 68-70k in the regions. Wonder which firm will go first.



Not bizarre at all, that’s when US firms start of year is. They’re doing this now so they raise first and don’t have to if others offer more. Raising outside of usual pay rise time looks desperate (to me anyway).



But when the US firms announced the recent raises, they were backdated to 1 January.


Law student

My bet is on DLA and ES going first. AG and Pinsents will follow shortly after. This is exciting for regionals. Though SPB may then be well behind the market by the time the others bite back… perhaps a desperate move on SPB’s part when they initially raised to 55k in feb which looked embarrassing compared to DLA and ES’ raises



The 55k raise was soooooooooooooo badly timed. V embarrassing


Can't be real??

My money is on one of the firms that hasn’t announced yet. Others will probably wait until September to increase again



Which firms could that be?

From my understanding, the only firms that have not been announced yet are mid-tier/national firms (e.g. Shoosmiths, Irwin Mitchell and others).

I don’t see those firms even hitting 60k.


SPB Associate

At the in-person announcement emphasis was put on pay being “at least” £100k for NQs in London.

We were told that if the market dictates it will be higher.

We were also told that other levels of PQE will “shuffle up” appropriately…

We’ll see…



wait jan 2023? Thats ages away loool. Also ES, AG and DLA are on 95k now. I reckon ES or maybe DLA will go to 100k soon


Ordinary Pay-War Enjoyer

Wow… MC paying 107.5k whilst SPB, out of all the firms, soon paying 100k. Wild times just got wilder.



… and knowing SPB the rest of the scale is almost certainly:
£101k for 1PQE
£102k for 2PQE
£103k for 3PQE etc. etc.


Rufus McGuigan-Flumps QC

Meanwhile London DWF Partners are applying for NQ roles at SPB.


Future A&O trainee

Really disappointed A&O haven’t increased any pay scales yet. Trainee, LPC grant and NQ all behind considering inflation and other MC. It is definitely making the long hours I will face just even more horrid.


US Pay Truther

We need more on US pay for firms depending on exchange rate so they can’t hide behind the veil of purportedly paying Cravath. For example, Latham pays NQs “215k USD” but that’s converted at 1.45 (especially bad exchange rate they’ve chosen to fix) = 148k GBP. Kirkland does spot exchange so as of today annualised it’s 173k GBP. Firms like Latham need to get a move on.



They won’t get a move on, they want to pay less


US associate

My firm has a quarterly mechanic where if the fx rate has shifted by x% then it’s reset to the rate on the first business day of that quarter. So as of May we’re on 1.23. Nice salary bump.


Governor of the bank of NQ

LOLZ. Nice gesture, but announcing a 5% pay rise today that isn’t effective until Jan 2023 is essentially locking in a pay cut to NQ salaries on an inflation-adjusted basis. Nice one.


Salary Guy

Some of the other firms in the regions which have already raised will be reviewing pay again over the summer (the big raises in the new year were interim reviews), so it’s quite possible we’ll see pay going over £65k and SPB being left behind before those raises even come into effect. DLA’s pay rises were backdated to Jan this year!



Tbf they needed to do something to halt the mass exodus…


Legally bold

What’s causing the exodus? Genuinely interested as a prospective applicant.


a horse does not belong in the living room.

Im guessing their slow response in the salary war.

But to be honest, don’t take comments on Legal Cheek too seriously.

Every post about salaries will have someone from xyz firm saying “currently talking to a recruiter”. It’s more just to voice their disapproval



RPC has announced that NQ rates will be bumped up to 110k by 2028.



Simmons already pay £68k in Bristol.



Even at £100k a combination of the ratio of associate to partner salaries, odds of getting partnership and the short period many associates will stay in private practice makes this a questionable level of compensation for time invested and opportunities lost.


What's the return policy on the used strap on?

(1) This 5k “increase” in 8 months time represents a net pay decrease – 7% inflation, all time high CPI since records began, increased NI contributions, nor is it aligned with what market will be, since this “news” comes out ahead of the mid year pay reviews which will be backdated to May, and the winter announcements for the NY. It’s just PR internally / externally to attract/retain talent. To say it is meaningless is too charitable; rather it is deceitful.

(2) SPB is not Eversheds or PS; it is better thought of in the market in terms of labour and the work it does. Billable targets for bonus are 1750 ish, which is in the same ballpark as Simmons and the SC. At the Shed and PS, it’s about 1500. The nature of those hours are also more potentially unpredictable i.e. evenings and weekends albeit not comparable to MC or US teams generally.


SPB Associate

They are also reviewing salaries this July to make adjustments in light of the cost of living increase FYI. So they said at the town halls last week.

To be fair to SPB, regardless of our views on its generosity, it’s bonus policy is clear. 1600 is the billable target and for every 1% your hours are over that you get a 1% base salary bonus.

Totally cool with your views but this 1750 reference is simply made up. Not helpful to others trying to suss out the market so felt I had to set the record straight.



I left SPB last year – targets were 1600, but bonus didn’t kick in until 1700 or 1750, I can’t remember so the 3.29 post is actually about correct, not the 5.46 post from “SPB associate”.

Squires is better thought of than Eversheds, it’s on a par with DLA. This is not a compliment in any way whatsoever and these are questionable distinctions anyway in the scheme of things. It’s team dependent. It does have a good reputation in the market as a firm, and people understand they have good people who are relatively underpaid in the market being worked at the same sort of level as better firms.



Loool what world you living? SPB is a subpar US firm, deffo not considered better than ES lol. So random



This is nonsense. ES is miles ahead of SPB. What planet are you living on?



Sorry to break this to you, but SPB’s reputation in the market is shite, and that reputation has been confirmed by experience. I’m litigating against their London comm lit team at the moment. They have been the most incompetent opponents I have encountered in quite some time.


Casual Observer

I think people need to separate what they believe to be a global reputation and its UK reputation.

Its UK revenue is just over £200m a year, which is less than DAC Beachcroft, Irwin Mitchell and Stephenson Harwood!

Yes the firm as global entity is huge, and it has an impressive client roster, but in the UK its very much mid market.


Lol, it’s only potentially more unpredictable in accordance of practice area. You’re not mystic Meg.


US Firm Associate

SPB is not better thought of than those firms you mention. It really just isn’t.


SPB associate

Billable targets are not 1750. Its 1600.


Source - trust me bro

I heard Kennedys will go up to 100k for NQs in 2033.



Firms like Kennedys and DWF that hide their salaries probably don’t feel much pressure from the pay war.

Unless you work there, you can’t even ascertain what their paying their lawyers.




…it’s not very much



Not to mention your colleague who does the same work could be taking home £10k more.


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