Davis Polk latest US player to bump London NQ salaries to £165k

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Another day, another rise

US law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell is increasing its newly qualified (NQ) rates from £160,000 to £165,000.

The uplift puts them in line with Weil Gotshal and Skadden, the latter of which upped its financial offering on Wednesday.

The Legal Cheek Firms Most List 2023 shows Davis Polk trainees start on a salary of £60,000. This rises to £65,000 in year two.

Last year the firm confirmed it will increase the number of training contracts it is offering from four to six in August this year.

The 2023 Legal Cheek Firms Most List



Legalcheek, can you also do an investigation on the COLA (cost of living adjustment payments) that US firms and Magic Circle firms are paying to their US-qualified associates working in London? I understand that these can be substantial annual boosts (sometimes up to USD 50,000 PER YEAR) on top of the Cravath scale payments.

Business Day in Capitals

No COLA for US associates, bearing in mind that the US associates in London are usually European/Russian who have a US LLM and NY Bar qualifications.


That’s not true though, a look through linkedin will tell you quite a few US associates have US JDs and look to be US citizens.

High yield man

I can confirm no COLA generally unless internal transfer of senior (and top) candidates (but that’s rare).

US associate

This is not true for high yield associates. 50k is the floor at MC firms with U.S. firms paying much more.

This is 2022 not 1992

$50k a year to offset the cost and hassle of living in London in 2022 is hardly substantial.


Even Linklaters pays COLA to its first year US JD associates – certain shops with only US qualified associates pay them as a matter of course.

Curious law student

Pay aside, is David Pork considered an elite US firm?


It is.

However you are guaranteed on this site to equally get people saying terrible shop, sweatshop, boiler room. Theres a ridiculous slagging of other firms, I think every UK and U.S Firm gets called terrible by people of other firms.


It’s a very profitable law firm with a great reputation in capital markets and high-end M&A, and good dealflow across a range of transaction types. Whether it’s “elite” or not is essentially meaningless (doubly so with US firms in London, as all your non-legal friends/relatives/Tinder dates will never have heard of any of them).

US tings

It is. The only caveat is that its considerably smaller than say, Weil or Skadden in London, and a lot smaller than STB (which is itself smaller than Latham or Kirkland). All of these firms are “elite”, but in terms of size and feel I’d put it in the same camp as Paul Weiss and Sullivan & Cromwell – also elite firms but their London offerings are dwarfed by their US (particularly NYC) offices.


There are better places if you want to work at a US firm that offers good training. For example:

MC-like/full service firms: Kirkland, Latham, Skadden, W&C
Profitable niche: AG, STB, WF&G
Up-and-coming: Weil, Debevoise, MOFO, Paul Hastings, Milbank
Lifestyle choice (read: <1600 hours): V&E, McDermott

You what?

In what world is V&E <1600 hours.


Ignore the fresher, he was just taking a break before turning back to his Treitel on Contracts QuikNotes summaries.

Freshers stop commenting nonsense

Describing Weil, Millbank, Debevoise, Morrison Foerster and Paul Hastings as “up and coming” firms is delusional.
Or V&E as a “lifestyle choice”? You have no bloody clue what you are talking about

US Senior Associate

Weil up and coming? Your awareness of your own industry is shocking. Back to the Data Room with you, serf.

US associate

Weil, Paul Hastings and Milbank ain’t “up and coming” FFS. Each of them have a well established finance (LevFin and US bond), PE and restructuring practice, even though they are all equally sweaty.


David Beef are generally considered to be superior.


Did D&P make one off FX payments a la Skadden?


What are the new GBP rates for other PQEs?


Divide the Cravath dollar rates by 1.3


Circa. £280k for a 6PQE at my firm. Bonus is around £70k. Star associate like me also gets one-off £10-30k for strong performance/holiday subsidy.


Milbank slightly better at £166.6k thanks to a 1.29 exchange rate.


When you say lifestyle choice for V&E and McDermott, you mean they have good work life balance? Don’t known much about McDermott but for V&E for the amount they pay, I doubt it





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