Clifford Chance joins firms handing cost of living bonuses to trainees and staff

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Clifford Chance’s London office

Clifford Chance has become the latest City outfit to provide some of its UK employees with one-off bonuses to help with the rising cost of living.

The magic circle player is providing a one-off payment of £1,500 this month to its trainee lawyers and business service staff, Bloomberg reports. The firm declined to provide further details.

The Legal Cheek Firms Most List 2022 shows rookies earn a salary of £50,000 in year, rising to £55,000 in year two. In March, the firm increased financial support for future trainees undertaking the Legal Practice Course (LPC) by 25% to £12,500.

The 2022 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

The one-off payment follows similar moves by the likes of Bird & Bird and Irwin Mitchell, with the former providing a payment of £1,000 to trainees and staff earning £50,000 or less, and the latter dishing out a bonus £900 in response to “the challenging external circumstances affecting the cost of living”.

Elsewhere, Legal Cheek reported last month that White & Case had increased both its LPC and GDL maintenance grants in response to the “difficulties” faced by many to meet their financial commitments.

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Mr Peanut



Over it

That one off payment is for show and show only. If they really cared they would make sure all staff received salary increases in line with inflation



This bonus should be targeted to support staff and not trainees who already make almost twice the average salary in the country.



Do you think support staff at CC are low paid? They’re not.


A person

They are. £22k per year for paralegals that have 60K worth of student debt. Shocking



Clifford Chance is the firm that keeps on giving – well done



To all those criticising, Links and a&o have frozen salaries (equivalent to a cut with today’s inflation rate) and aren’t handing out any such payments to lower paid staff. Just process that for a moment as so called equivalent magic circle firms



Links hasn’t frozen salaries. The bands increased in May, and individuals also move up the bands. What it has done is say that it’s not rushing to re-visit the bands again, for what would be the fourth time in 12 months – in part because the available bonuses are much more significant than those that students speculate on here.

Other than a lawyer on the way out, no lawyer has had a “frozen salary”.



This is an absolutely pathetic attempt to save face from what can only be Links HR. The firm has frozen salaries – I.e it has chosen not to increase them. The point about moving through bands is utterly ridiculous, that is what always happens. Otherwise a 1PQ would be paid the same as an NQ and so on! The truth of the matter is that firms in the magic circle are now paying less than firms such as HSF who are firmly silver circle which is embarrassing considering the relative PEPs. It shows nothing but greed from the partners. And bonuses are not a substitute for salary – they are chargeable hours rated and much worse than at Freshfields or CC who also pay more base.


Reality Check

If you’re frothing about people with no PQE being paid £107,500 rather than £115,000, you need one.



Moaning about firms who see themselves as similar in the market paying less to juniors doing all the grunt work, don’t dilute the point.


The point about moving through the bands is not ridiculous. During the GFC most firms in the market held people back and added in a new, lower, NQ band…



We’re not in the GFC though are we. Silver circle firms are now paying more than magic circle despite half the partner profit.


Well there is the door, moaner, you are welcome to leave. No? Didn’t think so.



And who are you? A partner being paid 2 million instead of 1.99m just to avoid MATCHING associate pay (not increasing)

Not the full story

Not quite. £750 for first seaters. £1500 for everyone else.



That isn’t even enough to top up my Lambo.



Bakers has announced NQ to 110k.



Wow. A criminal barrister would take 30 years to get to that pay level, and even then they would have to be doing top drawer work constantly.


Kirkland NQ

I once accidentally dropped £1500 out of my LV wallet whilst getting out of my Lambo. I didn’t bother stopping to pick it up.


Latham 2 PQE

Same here. Also spent £500 on a bottle of champagne last night.


Future trainee

When will they up their SQE maintenance loan 12.5k is not a lot compared to their competitors providing 17k



It actually works out the same since the 12.5k is for CCs SQE which is only 6 months as with LPC. CC did not join the other firms in creating an 11 month consortium SQE course.


Future trainee

No because you don’t get your first paycheque until September’s end. That means the grant is meant to last 9 months…



That’s great for the trainees and support staff employed by Clifford Chance. But the ones who will miss out are the low-paid contractors working within the building like cleaners, catering and security staff who will not receive a bonus but are more likely to be suffering from the current cost living crisis. It’s true to say these people are not directly employed by Clifford Chance, but Clifford Chance have just as much responsibility that all are treated fairly and equally employed within their London HQ. Otherwise it creates a two tier society within the workplace and becomes a moral issue. Clifford Chance have the ability and influence to make sure contractors receive fair pay-rises and bonuses annual as their own staff do. But must be willing to use this influence over the companies used at 10 Upper Bank Street, who supply these services. Clifford Chance shouldn’t just wash their hands of the issue but be demanding from its contract suppliers that things change and that change happens now.


Mark A

Kennedys reduced their annual £100 shopping voucher bonus from 2*£50 to £50 last year.

£1500 is something Kennedys employees could only ever dream of.


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