Bird & Bird, HFW and Dentons bump NQ salaries to 95k

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By Emily Hinkley on


More rises

A trio of City law firms have increased the salaries of their newly qualified (NQ) lawyers.

NQs at Bird & Bird will now earn a base salary of £95,000, a rise of just under 3% from £92,400.

Trainee salaries are also getting boosted by around 4%, with first year pay moving from £45,000 to £47,000, and year two increasing from £50,000 to £52,000.

The Legal Cheek Firms Most 2023 shows Bird & Bird recruits around 18 trainees each year.

The 2023 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

NQ solicitors at HFW are now earning the same as their counterparts at Bird & Bird, thanks to a 12% rise from £85,000. HFW trainees in London earn £46,000 in their first year of training, then £50,000 in their second year. The firm typically offers 15 training contracts each year.

Finally junior at Dentons have also had pay rise of around 3% to £95,000. The uplift takes effect from September. Dentons’ trainees in London will also receive an increase of around 4%, with first year pay moving from £46,000 to £48,000, and year two increasing from £50,000 to £52,000. The firm typically offers 35 training contracts each year.

Many firms have increased salaries in recent week including Taylor Wessing, Travers Smith, CMS, Simmons & Simmons, and Ashurst.

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Dentons Associate

I knew this would be it for us, a frankly pathetic increase but we are lucky to have gotten any increase with the way this shop retains any money for partners. Headline rates increase 10%, yeah lets reward people with a derisory 3%. The gap widens between us and what once would have been comparative firms.

Management actually have the nerve to say they look at firms like Ashurst etc as a comparator firm but then proceed to pay £20k less than them at NQ.

Would also have been nice to have had a courtesy email about it, rather than having to read about it on Legal Cheek again this year.


Lool if you’re mad, leave Dentons


When did we start using ‘gotten’?

Nunja Bizniz

Mayer brown gone to 120k confirmed


Looool “finally junior at Dentons”. Eversheds any rises?

You bully

I feel legal cheek commenters bullied Dentons to rise.


Anyone got any idea who will rise next?


Will the shed rise or what?


Never thought I would see the day of so many firms on 95k…


Ofc pinset doesn’t rise…ffs lol

Disgruntled PMer

Only thing rising at Pinsets is partners’ pay (by 13%!)



Will Eversheds rise? Or AG?

AG associate

AG not increasing


Will RPC rise?


The firm has clearly run out of money, or is being even more tight than typically usual. Salaries in effect frozen at a time when the firm is supposedly trying to push for growth. If an announcement is not made imminently then a lot of dissatisfied associates are about to jump ship – particularly on the commercial side.

Wishful thinking

The day RPC rises is the day my hair will grow

Bombastic side eye

Clyde, no rises?

Hungry NQ

Just the 20% rise in revenue and entry to the $1billion law firm club. Fat chance of any other rises over here.

Current Trainee

Word on the street is that there is a “pay freeze” for trainees and NQ’s. Get ready for announcements of “billion dollar firm” and “20%+ growth” but they will freeze Trainee pay which has seen a real-time pay decrease since 2018. HR have massively overhired.

Yeaaa man

Good deal for two birds, interesting work, good whack, good secondments and reasonable hours


It’s all well and good until you find 1 pqe is like 98 k, Dentons I’m looking at you

Dentons Associate

Likely £97.5k if they get the full benefit of the current increase

Disgruntled DA

And 2pqe at 100k

DWF associate

Must be nice.

HSF associate thinking of jumping ship

Mayer Brown insiders, what are the nq increases/when will they be announced?


NQ is 120, 1 PQE 139, 2 PQE 157


Read above bro, 120k for NQs and I think someone mentioned 139k for Finance NQs,


Stephenson Harwood?!


would freshfield bruckhaus deringer increase this year ?


FbD unlikely


What makes you say that?


Maybe shed and HSF might rise)


HSF NQs already on 120k. Can’t imagine these rises will light a fire under their a**.

Shed, AG and Pinsents up next.

btec firm

defo not pinsents.

Saville Row Only

AG confirmed no NQ rises this week. Associate salaries mostly staying put at 1-4 PQE as well, which is pretty shit


Will OC rise?


OC NQ to 95k here we go confirmed ✅


Lool OC won’t even give you a bonus unless you’re in the office everyday, so doubt it

Former Dentons Associate

Thank god I jumped ship years ago.

I come here to listen to university students talk about money

With a new article on NQ pay every day my entertainment never ends


Wow, is there an audio play function where you can listen to these comments?


ES to 100k confirmed




Addleshaw this is getting a joke now mate.

Rise to match CMS.


Where the source from ES from?


Always find the comments under these pay increase articles amusing. Frankly, if you’re earning anything over £80k as an NQ with very little experience or responsibility, you are being hugely overpaid already. You’re probably incredibly lucky to have even got a TC at a city firm in the first place (and yes, a large part of it is down to luck given the statistical improbability of some HR droid deciding on a whim that your CV is slightly more interesting than the other two thousand they sifted through that day), so you should be thankful you’re even in the position to be complaining about some rival firm having raised pay while you’re toiling away on a measly £95k.

Stop whingeing and get a sense of perspective. Then brace yourself for the huge culling that’s inevitably coming your way once the economy truly tanks.

Reply to rant

You sound like a hater ngl


Who’s the source of the shed rising???


100k for ES


Realistically you need at least £165k to live in Central London. That is why quality associates with impressive CVs will gravitate to US firms.


Wtf would you wanna live in central London? I’m sure you are a student with comments like that lol. Think you’re forgetting earning more money at a U.S. law firm doesn’t necessarily mean you more “quality”…

Regional observer

Why not move to a region and earn £60k?

My office is opposite my high rise apartment lol

Ex future Sheds lawyer

All this ‘ES to 100k’ is fake (as it stands). Nothing has been said by the firm. When we moved from £82k to £95k we received a firm wide email. If it happens, I suspect we’ll get the same again.


How do you know if you’re not at the firm anymore 💀 ex’s are ex for a reason lol


Well it’s inevitable ES willl rise to 100 to 105k anyways..I did hear rumours tbh but who knows

Eversheds Associate

have not heard anything about ES salary rising. Here’s to hoping though!

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