Simpson Thacher boosts NQ lawyer rates in London to £170k

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By William Holmes on


£12k rise 📈

US outfit Simpson Thacher & Bartlett (STB) has handed its newly qualified (NQ) lawyers an extra £12,000 as the City law pay war continues despite some Magic Circle firms’ more cautious approach associate pay.

STB’s near 8% wage hike came into effect from 1 November and will see its NQs in London earn a base rate of £170,000, according to an email seen by Legal Cheek.

Those further up the ladder are also cashing in. The US firm’s one-year PQEs will now take home £178k, whilst 2-PQEs get £198k and 3-PQEs near a quarter of a million at £233k, the email states. Further up the ranks still, four-year PQEs will now receive £273k and salaries for seven-year PQEs has grown from just under £300,000 to £328,000.

This marks continued pay rises for STB’s junior lawyers following increases at the start of 2022.

STB has been approached for comment.

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During the summer, the Magic Circle broke ranks when it came to salaries with Linklaters and Allen & Overy keeping NQ pay at £107,500.

A&O cited the “challenging” economic conditions as the reason for stalling on NQ pay rises, whilst Linklaters told its junior lawyers: “we do not believe that the right course of action is to rush into matching salaries at NQ level without properly considering the impact of any changes and the wider economic context”.

This has not stopped NQ pay rises elsewhere, however. Herbert Smith Freehills was quick to overtake the majority of the Magic Circle with a new and improved NQ pay packet of £120k.

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