Law ranks second for graduate earning power

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By Emily Hinkley on


Beaten by investment banking

Graduates entering City law are among the highest paid in the country, new research has shown, with only their counterparts in investment banking earning more.

High Fliers Research report examined the country’s top grad employers (based on The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers 2022) and forecast how much they’ll pay their new recruits this year. The figures don’t include additional benefits such as bonuses.

The City’s top law firms offer a median salary of £50,000, according to the report. A figure unchanged from last year. However, with a median starting salary of £55,000, their peers starting at investment banks take top spot on this year’s earnings table.

The findings show that many of the highest grad starting salaries are from law firms — £52,000 at White & Case, and £50,000 at Allen & Overy, Baker McKenzie, Clifford Chance, Freshfields, Herbert Smith Freehills, Latham Watkins, Linklaters and Slaughter and May.

But our Firms Most List 2023 shows a number of US outfits pay their UK newcomers even more, with Davis Polk & Wardwell, Kirkland & Ellis, Morrison Foerster, Sullivan & Cromwell, Vinson & Elkins and Weil Gotshal & Manges all offering top rates of £60,000.

In 2023, the median graduate starting salary is £33,500, a £1,500 increase from the previous year. Researchers noted that the average starting salary from a decade ago (£29,000) would have been around £39,000 today if it had kept pace with inflation.

The 2023 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

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