CMS boosts NQ lawyer pay to £100k

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Second rises in seven months

CMS has increased salaries for newly qualified associates in London to £100,000, Legal Cheek can reveal.

The move equates to an extra £5,000 or 5%, with rates previous set at £95,000 following an uplift in December 2021.

The Legal Cheek Firms Most List 2022 shows the new six figure sum matches that already offered by the likes of Macfarlanes, Simmons & Simmons, Squire Patton Boggs and Travers Smith, and is just £7,500 behind magic circle player Allen & Overy (£107,500), which last week opted against further rises citing “challenging” economic conditions.

CMS recruits around 95 trainees each year, following a hike last summer which made it the second highest training contract provider in the UK. Linklaters sits in top spot with 100 TCs annually.

The 2022 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

The firm’s London trainees earn a salary of £46,725 in year one, rising to £52,250 in year two.

Last week Legal Cheek reported that Herbert Smith Freehills had upped NQ rates to £120,000, in a move which saw it leapfrog big names including A&O and Linklaters (both £107,500) as well as Slaughter and May (£115,000).

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Links and A&O will be announcing an increase in NQ pay promptly I imagine. Embarrassing having CMS less than 10% away from your going rate.



The shameful thing is they are sticking to their guns. They’ve already got away with paying less for several months because other firms increased in May.


SC et al.

I think once the rest of SC and other international firms go to 110 – 120 range, they will be either mocked out of the MC or forced to give substantial increases.


Muggle Circle

Yep, I’d say they will have to hand over their Magic Circle Membership Card, broomsticks and wands to the gatekeepers of the Magic Circle.



mocked out of the MC?????

what did I just read


Ignorance is bliss

The truth.


okay fresher


Not embarrassing at all. Deals are way down. They’ll be firing less people in a years time but not keeping up with this charade.


Bye bye magic

You imagine, if they did raise, they would have done it by now. Bye the magic is rubbing off loool



Simmons increased trainee salaries to be on par with MC



Proof? Up to 105k? And then all other international firms and magic circle / sc will just increase again to 115/120 while Simmons on 105 lol ok


Who hurt you

Kind sir, please read the comment again. It said trainee salaries. Did you get rejected by Simmons? If you give me your name I am happy to get GR to remove you from the Blacklist?



Doesn’t mean Simmons is on par in terms of talent tho if that’s what ur implying x






105 nq



CMS 2 PQE is between 105-108k depending on how your partners grade you. Don’t get me wrong it’s a lot of money, but the salary bunching is baddddd



do not recommend working at CMS if you want decent pay. The hours are as bad as any other mc law firm, the pay is beyond par for the hours worked, bonus structure is abysmal in comparison to other firms, partners don’t give a toss about associate pay and only care about their wine cellars and lavish houses (harsh but true).



So you now get paid about 200 more a month to get beasted at links or a&o? Given the personal allowance taper over 100k gross


Average Pay War Observer

Are they sticking with £52k NQ in the regions? Seems unlikely.



Around £57,000 I hear. Better off at DLA.


Regions nq

NQ salary in bristol for CMS is 65k now


DWFer in Walkie Talkie who can see everyone!

DWF? (Just kidding, as if salaries here will increase… we have been waiting for a LONG time).


The Informer

DWF pay based on area of work (I.e. corporate and commercial get way more than those in insurance, litigation etc.). But within the team bandings, they’ll pay accordingly based on your value to the team.

So unless you’re a mud covered unicorn there, don’t expect miracles.




What is the DWF NQ salary if you don’t mind sharing?

The absolute secrecy from the firm and lack of information online is very telling but I’m intrigued






Goodwin about to reclaim its crown 🤑🤑🤑


Akin is king

Nahh akin is up


You don't work here

Nah haven’t heard anything



Have Goodwin raised again?


Stay away fresher

If you know you know. Why you asking if you don’t work here 🤔



Any news on Linklaters’ decision?


Kirkland NQ




Lol Akin has dethroned you Kirkland, you are not king.



I reckon ES or DLA will increase to 100k imminently. Not sure about AG.



Meanwhile at Dentons associates are absolutely seething with the salary announcements. Bunching like no tomorrow. HR (apparently) did their market research against Ashurst, CMS, ES etc. and completely fudged it. Getting called out in London office as being off by over 5 figures. Recruiters have caught wind obviously because LinkedIn messages are spiking. Can see another associate rebuild in the making.



DLA yes, good luck trying to get ES to raise again having only done so in May. Only those firms which last raised salaries in 2021 or beginning of 2022 will raise again this summer (if at all). The market doesn’t appear hot enough to prompt firms into raising salaries 2/3 times in a short period.



Lool watch my words. Also 95k and 100k is the same so CMS haven’t done anything breathtaking.







they haven’t increased just changed their exchange rate but yes it’s mad hahah



Kirkland is around 179k based on its conversion


Kirkland NQ

Lies – Kirkland are not


Harvey Spectator. HA - what an original name. Get it? Because Suits!

CMS is the firm that keeps on giving.

They were 75k last year and have raised like 3 or 4 times now.


Northern NQ

Are CMS increasing NQ rates in their regional offices?



Yes but it isn’t competitive. A fly on the wall told me they’re recruiting from smaller firms in the regions to plug the gap….


Roger that

K&E uses a floating spot rate determined on the first BD of every month with a cap and collar. The collar is 1.25, so we’re paid less than AG associates currently. I don’t recall what the cap is given how weak sterling has been for my last four miserable years in the gherkin.



Might have to lower that floor eventually?



Wait till you hear what the Latham floor is… 1.45!! And management still pretend like it’s competitive



Good on CMS for signalling their intention to attract and reward talent. I have a feeling A&O/Links will U-turn in the not too distant future on NQ increases. There are a number of City/International firms encroaching, reaching or exceeding that 100k NQ mark, thereby causing a dent to the claim of superiority as espoused by MC firms and only paying 107k NQ. Its now obvious that you don’t just talk that talk, you gotta walk that walk.



Disclose the Akin NQ announcement already legal cheek


Just saying

£100k next year is the equivalent of £90k last year.

And if you make more than £40k the current Tories will hammer you again and again on tax after tax to prop up votes among Northern Brexit voters.

And there is alway the lovely 60% effective income tax rate between £100k and £125k just to mean the next few years’ income increases will feel like next to nothing.

Welcome to the death spiral of opportunity in Brexit Britain.



being on 6 figures is not the same as being on a death spiral



Earning six figures but having the relative spending of £50k/60k a few years ago with tax and housing costs taken into account and the prospects of things getting much worse. Six figures ain’t anything like it was in those heady days of the 2010s.



The talented that make a difference to the economy are being dragged down more and more towards the mediocre to appease the mediocre. That is the death spiral.


Kirkland NQ

LOL. My cleaning lady gets the equivalent of a CMS NQ



So as an NQ, you and the cleaning lady are both on 6 figures? Should’ve have gone into cleaning. Far less barriers to entry.



Any news on Bakers?



Just £70k less than Amen Gump. Cute.

That said, you get proper experience at CMS or A&O. US trained associates are subpar to be perfectly honest..



Bristol CMS Senior Associates supervising London NQs when being paid 15-25k less than the NQs will be pleased



Weil NQ salary now £160K



Anyone know what the nq rate is in the regions?


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