Akin Gump NQ lawyer salaries hit record £179,000

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By William Holmes on


Rise due to favourable exchange rate

Akin Gump is understood to now provide the highest newly qualified (NQ) solicitor salaries of any firm in the City following the US giant’s decision to tweak the exchange rate it uses to calculate remuneration this side of the pond.

A fresh faced associate will now earn an astonishing base rate of £179,000 — a full £15k more than Boris was entitled to claim as PM — following the firm’s decision to implement a revised spot rate of £1 = US$1.2005 for the period July to September.

In March, the firm increased NQ salaries to $215,000 in line with the so-called ‘Cravath Scale’ (the salary markers set down by US law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore). Akin Gump, like many US firms operating in London, converts its base rate salaries from dollars to pound sterling to pay its London lawyers.

The 2022 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

Initially, the firm used the conversion rate of £1 = $1.3553 which put its March salary hike at £159k. The firm then tweaked this rate to £1 = $1.3109 for April to June, boosting NQ base pay to £164,000. The new London NQ rate of £179,000 could hold or fluctuate after September. The new figure is almost triple what second year trainees receive (£62,500), whilst first years are paid £57,500. There are just six training contracts up for grabs each year at Akin Gump, so expect serious competition if they’re on your target list!

This latest move means that Akin, who already topped the highest NQ pay on The Legal Cheek Firms Most List 2022, have bested their own record and clearly distinguished themselves from other firms who pay in excess of £160,000 such as Gibson Dunn (£161,700), Goodwin Procter (£161,500), Davis Polk (£160,000), Fried Frank (£160,000).

Elsewhere, Weil Gotshal & Manges have become the newest member of the £160k club, raising their NQ pay to £160,000. That’s £100,000 more than current Weil first-year trainees make (£60,000), whilst second year pay sits at £65,000.

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