CMS and Simmons raise NQ lawyer salaries

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By Emily Hinkley on


£105k and £107.5k

CMS and Simmons & Simmons are the latest big legal players to increase the salaries of their newly qualified (NQ) solicitors in London.

Base pay at CMS’s London office has moved from £100,000 to £105,000, which equates to an extra £5,000 or 5%.

The Legal Cheek Firms Most List 2023 shows NQs are now on the same levels of cash as their counterparts at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner and Norton Rose Fulbright.

Last year the firm boosted London trainee rates from by 5-7% and increased future rookie maintenance grants to £10,000 in London, and £7,500 for those studying elsewhere.

The 2023 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

Beyond London, salaries in the firm’s regional offices are also up. Base rates in Bristol now sit at £68,000 (previously £65,000), while Manchester and Sheffield pay has moved to £60,000 (previously £57,500). Glasgow and Edinburgh NQs will now earn £60,000 too (previously £57,500). This marks increases of around 4%.

Simmons, meanwhile, has announced its London NQs London will earn a base rate of £107,500, up a little over 2% from £105,000. This change puts Simmons’ NQ salaries in line with the likes of Mayer Brown and Reed Smith.

Simmons has also bumped NQ pay in the Bristol office to £72,000. Previously £69,000, this is an extra £3,000 or approximately 4%. The new salaries are effective from 1 July 2023.

Our Firms Most List 2023 shows CMS dishes out around 95 TCs each year while Simmons provides around 24.



Okay, now I can only laugh. The Shed?


Wtf lol who will rise next??


CMS are going ham lol


AG look at your mates?


Shed why is it taking you so long to rise? Can anyone who works at the firm actually confirm?


The firm hasn’t recently said anything, at all, on the matter.


CMS went from 95 – 100 – 105 like it’s nothing lol..swear this is in the space of a month

Casual Observer

They’ve done some really stellar corporate and PE work throughout a period whether comparable firms have been struggling to secure business in that area. Personally, I’m surprised that they haven’t increased more to undermine firms like Travers, who have had a shocker with securing business and retaining key lawyers.

Little disappointing to see a meagre 2% from Simmons who have had a pretty good year, all things considered.


No… we’ve been on 100k nq since like last year


It’s getting boring now

Keep these articles coming


Casual Pay War Enjoyer

Interesting to see CMS going higher in London but quite a bit lower in the regions than the likes of AG/Squires/Shed/DLA.


Tells you where their priorities are. Higher than dla in London but miles behind in Manchester


Just don’t get it, not sure about AG and pinsets but shed are doing well atm, and still not even a whisper whether they’ll rise

New joiner

Experiences of Simmons please? Soon to join


Expect to work seriously hard, especially in their finance/banking/fin-tech PGs, others are a little more reasonable. Seniors are pretty approachable, but there are definitely a few dinosaur partners to avoid. Good luck, it is a great firm!

Simmons Associate

Associate salary bunching is real…time to look around…

Dentons Associate

Ahhh Dentons…


Raised NQ to 95k.


Then I’ll bunch to a new firm (preferably a U.S. firm)


What’s more important the work or just going to firm that pays the most and cashing out after a few years?


It depends on your own long term goals.

If you want to be a partner at a firm like the one you train at, go to one with the best reputation possible for the kind of work you want to do. It will make BD easier, mean there’s a big network of alumni at other firms to plug into for cross referrals, and the higher quality the work is the more interesting your very work focussed life will be. If your goal is equity partnership at MC/SC/US firms, the difference in NQ salary is totally inconsequential in the context of the money to be made long term.

If you instead want to do City law until you’re 30, make your money then go in house, move to the regions, move to a boutique or quit law altogether, take the place that will maximise your short term earnings.

DWF Oliver Twist associate

Ahhh DWF


Shoosmiths to 90k!!

Brian, age 10

Source? Any increase in regions?


Does anyone know when/if Mayer Brown will rise this year? Anyone an insider in the firm/has rumours?

Mayer Brown insider

Yes, should be announced next week. I’ve heard from associates that raises (in the finance group) are big. 1PQE 139+, 2PQE 150+ (banded).



MC Assoc.


Future Trainee

MC NQ salaries aren’t looking competitive anymore.



Mayer Brown insider

MB increases should be announced early next week. I’ve heard from various associates that the raises are pretty big, I’ve heard finance 1PQE is like 139 now or something like that.

Irwin Corporate Corporate Dog

Why am I still here?


Why would you do corporate at IW in the first place ??


Any ES insiders???


🐤🐤🐤🐤🐤🐤🐤🐤🐤🐤🐤🐤🐤🐤🐤🐤🐤🐤🐤🐤🐤🐤🐤🐤🐤🐤🐤🐤🐤🐤🐤🐤🐤🐤🐤🐤🐤🐤🐤🐤🐤🐤 🌽 🌽🌽🌽🌽🌽🌽🌽🌽🌽🌽🌽🌽🌽🌽🌽🌽🌽🌽🌽🌽🌽🌽🌽🌽🌽🌽🌽🌽🌽🌽🌽🌽🌽🌽🌽🌽🌽🌽🌽🌽🌽


I know that’s you, Poopert.

However you try to hide it.

Pay war enjoyer

105k in London and 60k in regions is hideous. Especially when DLA are paying 100k in London and 68.5k in regions.

AG and Shed currently 62k in regions and likely to raise soon.

White & Case inquirer

Any white & case raises news?!


Is it gonna be 140k or 150k? Yum

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