HSF ups NQ lawyer base pay to £120k

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By Rona Ankrah on


Leapfrogs A&O, Links and Slaughters

Herbert Smith Freehills has hiked newly qualified (NQ) solicitor base pay to £120,000.

This rise comes as Legal Cheek exclusively revealed today that Linklaters had informed lawyers it would not “rush” into increasing its NQ pay, while fellow magic circle firm Allen & Overy had opted against NQ rises — for now — in light of “challenging” economic conditions.

Effective from today, HSF’s most junior associates will receive an extra £15,000, or 14%, to their base pay, plus a discretionary bonus. Rates were previously set at £105,000.

The firm will also be increasing salaries of associates further up the qualification ladder and “making significant investment throughout the associate bands”.

The NQ pay move sees the firm leapfrog A&O and Linklaters (both £107,500) as well as Slaughter and May (£115,000). Clifford Chance and Freshfields provide an NQ rate of £125,000.

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Alison Brown, HSF executive partner, said:

“It is key that we continue to attract the very best talent. We also want to recognise high-performing lawyers at all levels, so prioritising fairness and equity across the whole associate population is key for us. These new salary increases reflect the real depth of talent we hold in our NQ and entire associate population and demonstrate that we value their contribution, as next generation leaders of our firm.”

Our Firms Most List shows the firm takes on some 60 trainees each year, who earn £50,000 in their first year and £55,000 in their second.

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