US firm salaries ‘almost 50% above’ Magic Circle rivals thanks to favourable exchange rates

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By William Holmes on


New research comes as NQ rates hit record £179k

Some US law firms’ dollar-pegged salaries in London are “almost 50% above” those provided by their Magic Circle counterparts, according to new research.

This comes after favourable exchange rates saw Akin Gump‘s NQ salary rise in its GBP value to £179,000. At present, Clifford Chance and Freshfields offer £125k NQ rates, whilst Linklaters and Allen & Overy pay £107,500. Slaughter and May‘s NQ pay sits in between these duos at £115k.

“It truly has been the perfect storm. A combination of Brexit, a delayed start in degrees, and a pause in junior hires in 2020 has left many law firms scrambling to fill the gaping hole in their talent pipeline”, explained Dan Harris, a director at consultancy firm Robert Walters which undertook the research.

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“It was not long ago where the biggest graduate earners in London typically worked within tech or banking — but lawyers are very much at the top of that chain and there are no signs yet of this slowing down”.

The research also revealed which lawyers are currently most in demand. Tax lawyers come out on top with a 21% increase in vacancies over the past 12 months. They are followed by real estate and M&A lawyers where vacancies are up 8% and 7% respectively.

Least in demand are banking lawyers (-24%), following by dispute & resolution (-8%) and employment law practitioners (-7%), following exceptionally high demand last year.

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