Travers and Ashurst raise NQ lawyer salaries

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By Bradley Fountain-Green on


£110,000 and £115,000 — plus rises for some trainees too

Travers Smith and Ashurst have become the latest City law firms to increase the salaries of their newly-qualified (NQ) solicitors.

NQ pay at Travers Smith has risen from £105,000 to £110,000, a £5,000 or 5% increase. Whilst NQ pay at Ashurst has risen marginally higher from £105,000 to £115,000, a £10,000 or 10% increase.

A spokesperson for Ashurst said: “We carefully monitor and review our pay structures to attract and retain talent and remain competitive. We are pleased to confirm our basic pay for newly qualified lawyers in London will be at least £115,000, with effect from 1 November 2023.”

Trainee pay at Ashurst is also up, with rookie rates in year one and two now sitting at £52,000 and £57,000, respectively. These previously sat at £50,000 and £55,000.

The Legal Cheek Firms Most List 2023 shows the rises put NQ pay at Ashurst in-line with Magic and Silver Circle competitors Slaughter and May and Macfarlanes (£115,000), while Travers Smith leapfrogs the likes of Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, Simmons & Simmons and Norton Rose Fulbright (£105,000).

Travers also confirmed that NQs could earn as much as £130,000 with bonuses.

The 2023 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

The rising rates come some 18 months after both Travers Smith and Ashurst broke the £100,000 threshold in January 2022, increasing pay to £100,000 and £105,000 respectively.

Last week Legal Cheek reported that Taylor Wessing had joined the summer pay war, upping NQ rates by 5% to £100,000.

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She’s or AG gonna rise orrr?


“Travers also confirmed that NQs could earn as much as £130,000 with bonuses.”

So 11.5%. Bit desperate including this to pad the numbers

Pay war 4: Vengeance

Now we’re talking. The raises aren’t as crazy as a year or two ago but seems like most forms are going to follow suit over the coming months


Nice to see a firm that’s actually increasing trainee pay for once, rather than just focusing on headline NQ rates.


Yes that £91 a month net increase at trainee level is really going to help those trainees pay their rent!


What world do you live in?


Think Eversheds are riding soon. And HL

Sad times

This is frankly shocking from Travers. It’s losing its prestige and can no longer be described in the same breath as Macs. For all the denials about the Travers financial situation and partner departures, surely if things were “normal” they’d have matched Macs.

Travers now in same league as BCLP, Dentons and CMS. A sad day for them.

Maybe if the corporate and private equity teams spent more time doing business development and less time in the awful pubs around the office, things would be looking better. They seem to be basing their business model on being a dating service for their employees rather than a law firm.

Surely things won’t get better in the short term given the financial outlay the move to a newly built office will inevitably drain.

Well, no

Well, not Dentons as they pay 92k or something like that…


I can’t help but think this is trolling, but then I ask myself why would anyone waste this much time to bash Travers. If you genuinely believe what you say then you are completely deluded.

The reality is, Travers and Macs are very similar, albeit by a marginal £5k NQ salary which is almost practically eroded through tax. CMS and DLA are full service global powerhouses. BCLP are Real Estate stat padders and are now a remnant of its former self (and currently holders of the Golden Turd), and Dentons… well, it’s Dentons.


Hyperbolic and revealing take – business is fine at Travers (especially considering the current state of the market)… Strange to fixate on pubs and dating too. Did somebody break your heart?

Sad Times

Ok, reveal yourself; are you the MP or a member of grad rec?

MC Junior Associate

I work across from Travers regularly and they are firm full of very bright lawyers who get instructed on some very good and prestigious mandates indeed. Junior lawyers need to stop equating NQ salary with the quality of a firm.


Seems a bit penny pinching for Ashurst to increase their salaries from 1 November?? Get the positive press now but don’t pay up until later in the year….

Good raise for trainees though!


Ashurst NQs now earning £5k less than 4PQEs at the same shop #bunching


CMS raised by 5k to £105,000


Simmons up to 107k lol. 2k increase

F u money

Out of all the firms, who had the most f u money for trainees and NQs??


Weil for trainees: 60 and 65k

Kirkland, Akin, Latham for NQ: around 172k (depending on their fx collar)


Ashurst 4PQE on £120k? Is that actually true, post-2023 review?




That’s outrageous bunching if so. I’m on £120k and am aware of other CMS 3PQE Associates earning similar or more.

A Shurt

Post review it is £145,000 ?

US associate

As a reference point, you make £240k as a 4PQE at a US firm.


Facking ell 240k for 4 pqe??? Which firms?

I mean I’ll probably lose my hair when I’m in my 30s on this salary from the stress but wow lol


Most of those that pay Cravath. The 240k is before bonuses at 4PQE


Umm… it’s £230k+bonuses for 4 PQE at any of the high paying US firms with London offices. Is Ashurst really paying so low??

Unfortunate DWF Associate

Please sir, may I have some more…?

Also an unfortunate Dentons associate



Think legal cheek need to do another bunching article like last year to show the scale of band bunching post 2023 pay rises.

Any ES confirm?

So shed is just staying put cos?

Money de Reya

Mishcons sticking at 45k/50k trainee and 90k NQ.

“Silver circle”

This gave me a good laugh

Mishcon is not silver circle, what world are you living in? 😂 😂 😂


Do you know what the 3PQE is at Mishcon?


The equivalent of a 1 PQE somewhere else?

Disgruntled FBD Boi

Let’s get those trainee and NQ salaries up then, shall we?

Ah finesse

See I don’t mind that pay (even 80k I’ll be alright) as an NQ as long as I’m not working donkey US or MC hours then I’m know I’m finessed

Paul the pensions partner

Salary salary salary.

No one actually cares about NQ salaries.

The real attraction for talent lies with office cake sales a deliveroo voucher if you work past 7 pm.


Let’s hope mayer brown pull their finger out fast


Do you think they will? Any insiders?


Why do people treat Dentons like the “Meg” in the law firm world lol


Because Dentons is the Meg of the law firm world


ES to 100k


Has this been confirmed or just speculation/wishful thinking?


Revenue at Pinsent Masons has exceeded £600m And still no rises (sigh)


Every time I go on here there is new NQ salary, blimey


What does a 7PQE earn at the likes of Travers, Macs, BCLP etc? I know at K&E, Simpson, Akin, Goodwin, Sidley etc that are paying Cravath Scale it’s around £320k + £90k minimum bonus if you hit hours target .
Are the UK firms raising the pay for mid to senior associates as well to keep up with the US firms?


Probs not that’s why you hear the teen bunch and why a lot from those firms move to US firms.

That’s bottom league professional football player money

What firms are paying 4 pqe 240k (wanna know for research purposes of course 👀 )


All the ones on Cravath Scale – eg K


Who’s gonna rise next then? Can any associates, trainees confirm?


Eversheds Sutherland has agreed a sprawling cooperation agreement with King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) that sees the firms agree exclusive referral deals, while also giving Eversheds the chance to grow substantially across the UK, Europe and Middle East. All this so why you can’t you ride smh


On Travers, there’s been 10+ partner departures in the last year (with PE and Funds taking particularly bad hits), and as a result associates are leaving in greater numbers than people realise (those same teams being the key ones which are affected). To add – there’s no growth in revenue, profits are down (and a result bonuses are down on last year), and the kicker is that other people are undergoing stealth layoffs under the guise of “performance reviews”. Travers is a good firm with some bright people (who are, for the most part, also nice people) but at the moment there are some systemic issues. Increasing the NQ salary is long overdue but we have to hope they do something more substantial in the short term to stem the bleeding

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