Cleary Gottlieb boosts NQ rates by 14% to £160k

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Early Xmas present 🎁

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton has become the latest US firm to increase salaries for its newly qualified (NQ) lawyers in the City of London.

The New York headquartered player confirmed base rates for its most junior associates will move from £140,000 to £160,000. The 14% uplift is effective from 1 January 2023.

The new six-figure sum sees the firm’s NQs draw level with their opposite numbers at fellow US outfit Davis Polk & Wardwell.

The 2023 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

The Legal Cheek Firms Most List 2023 shows Cleary recruits around 12 trainees each year on a starting salary of £57,500. This rises to £62,500 in year two.

The move comes just days after US firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges boosted NQ rates from £160,000 to £165,000.

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Silly season in full swing in more ways than one!


Rupert; a US Firm partner

More chicken feed rates being bandied about.

With inflation as it is, too.

It’s rather pathetic.






Meanwhile Linklaters have announced that all associate salaries continue to be frozen till at least next summer. Currently a 5-6PQ is on £160k base, same salary as these Cleary NQs.



I thought Linklaters base was circa £200,000 for senior associate?


In the A and know

That’s poor. It’s £180k for 5pqe at Allen and Overy


A & bro

A&O associates gotta take the small wins these days, I guess



That seems like an awfully sweet deal, guess I should stay put then



What’s the rate as other magic circle shops? Sounds like links is now the lowest paying…



These types of articles are equivalent to scoring a goal into the net when there’s no goalie.



Low hanging fruit for LC.


Who’s next

Lol who’s next! (from the meme)



Pure speculation but perhaps watch out for more raises/reraises… ?????
Some of the other US firms that have historically set the market for salaries haven’t announced and usually do so in the new year.


salary wars

Pure speculation but perhaps watch out for more raises/reraises… ?????
Some of the other US firms that have historically set the market for salaries haven’t announced and usually do so in the new year.



Why are these firms raising NQ salaries in a slowing legal market? Transactional practices have taken a battering recently with the loss of Russian work and tech companies implementing massive workforce layoffs



Can I introduce you to a game called insolvency law?



Clearly you do not work in the City.

My team (and many others) are still whacking out 60hrs billable which would be around 2800 target (taking away leave).

The legal market is still very much booming.



I just can’t comprehend how so many thousands of people are desperate to do this job. We’ve really gone wrong as a society when the only way to attain a comfortable middle-class life is to work 2800 hours a year. And after all that, you’ll probably own a poky semidetached house in Zone 3, go on a couple of holidays a year (which will undoubtedly be ruined by work), and feel good about yourself because you shop at Waitrose.

For all the students out there reading this – think very carefully about the decisions you are about to make. You may think you can hack the hours because you worked hard at university. But consistently working 60hr weeks, with little downtime, extremely stressful work, and the concomitant impact on your personal life, is something else entirely. Maybe it’s for you. But there’s a very good chance that it isn’t, and you’re just lying to yourself. Though a good 50-60% of the people in this career currently are lying to themselves too.



Generally on LC for the bants but this is gold ^



Firms arent solely reliant on Russia or big tech. Cleary and Weil for one weren’t in Russia as far as I am aware.

U.S firms with PE/finance focus will still be busy but with where we are in the cycle there will still be PE deals in other sectors e.g. utilities.

In terms of corporate work again lay-offs are internal business and companies with large capital reserves like Amazon will probably see a recessionary environment as a good opportunity to move into and take over new markets at reduced valuations.



Come on! Cleary used to source a lot of business from Russia. They were very affected by the sanctions!



Lol, clearly a salty fella. I said as far as I am aware. Whether I knew about Russian work or not, not even close to your lack of awareness of how the market operates.


Incoming Trainee Associate

Remarkable. In 2021, CGSH was paying NQs £133,000. Just a year later, the firm decides NQs will be earning 160,000.

Glad that the firm has upped their game.

Slightly missed opportunity to increase trainee pay to 60-65k, to be on the same footing as the best in the city.



It’s very sweaty there though.


Considering a Move

Have Ropes raised?



Huge move. Who will be the first to smash the 200k NQ ceiling?


Crystal BALLS gazer

100% Akin



Don’t akin or goodwin or simpsons or Kirk reach that with bonuses?


Career change?

Hahahahah lawyers in their own bubbles thinking 160k is a good salary. Last year I made 580k in PE (I’m 27).



It is objectively good, the fact yours may be better isn’t really relevant.


I’m going to rise to the bait

This is f-grade trolling. There are 100s if not 1000s of US law firm associates in the UK around the age of 30 (give it take) earning £170kish to £400k ish total comp. It is a well-trodden career path that is, comparatively speaking, not that hard to get into and where the salaries are generally transparent and well-publicised.

PE salaries are not transparent but if you’re earning £580k at 27 then you will be at the very top of the industry (possibly above, AKA that’s BS). Most PE professionals earn materially less than US firm lawyers for the first few years of their careers (obviously the upside as they get more senior is greater).


Career change?

It’s called carried interest. Look it up. Meanwhile i am going to buy another house.


Still rising to the bait

Lol. Carry doesn’t get awarded to juniors in any meaningful levels, and in any case it takes a few years to pay out. Google “whole of fund waterfall” and “vesting schedule”. Meanwhile I’m going to go buy another house with my (real) senior associate salary/bonus.



Yours is 7. Mine is 9. So what?


the detective

why would a 27 year old working in PE be browsing a website for law freshers?

shit tier trolling



White & Case next?



You were fundamentally wrong in your description of a law firm. You were corrected and then say I was unaware of how the market operates? Please, do give us more basic market insights lad. Can you teach me about what happens to the market when Bailey increases interest rates uWu?



These “salary increases” are all just adjustments to reflect FX rates. Most NY firms use fictional FX rates (e.g. average of previous calendar year) and we are coming to the time of year where they re-adjust. The outliers are all those firms who peg to the dollar.


Fried Frank NQ



Oli one

I earn 500k a year and I’m 30. Is that a good salary? My brother on the other hand is 32 and earns only 100k (we laugh at him during dinner parties)


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