Linklaters boosts SQE maintenance grants to £20k

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By Bradley Fountain-Green on


Up £3k

Magic Circle law firm Linklaters has increased maintenance grants for future trainees sitting the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE).

Graduates completing the SQE prep course with the firm in London will now receive maintenance support of £20,000, an 18% increase on the previous amount of £17,000.

The increase brings Links’s SQE grant in line with those offered by MC counterparts Slaughter and May and Freshfields. Meanwhile, Allen & Overy and Clifford Chance provide £17,000 in support.

The 2023 Legal Cheek SQE Providers List

Linklaters is part of the ‘City Consortium’, an influential group of six law firms that send their rookies to train at BPP University Law School. The consortium also includes Slaughter and May and Freshfields, plus three other firms, Herbert Smith Freehills, Hogan Lovells and Norton Rose Fulbright.

The firm recruits around 100 trainees each year on a starting salary of £50,000 in London, rising to £55,000 in year two. Links now offers a recently improved salary of £125,000 to its newly qualified associates.



What’s this about CMS facing redundancies in their associate roles?! They didn’t recently raise NQ salaries as well

An honourable man

Chance would be a fine thing

Super Simon (?)

No logo on the foam


is sqe maintenance grant taxed ?



And so it begins…

This is ‘dizzy law’ again.

When some firms offer maintenance grants of £17,000 – £20,000, you know that this just perpetuates the crazy pay divide between city firms and the rest.

This is nearly as much as what a trainee on the Law Society recommended minimum salary receives for a year’s work. And this is before the individual has even performed any work for the firm.

Crazy pay for this level of qualification.. still, probably less than what the firm spends on an evening of client entrainment in Soho so no big deal!??

The market is the market

Yeah so what’s your point? That people working regional are either insane or not good enough?

And so it begins…

Sorry, did my comments strike a nerve?

In between all the defensive macho alpha male aggression, you might at some point appreciate that the pay at City Law firms is in a bubble of its own, and they are paying way over the odds for what they are getting. Granted, the candidates will be good, but it’s almost like paying 20% for the candidate (which is what it would cost the firm to recruit the same candidate outside of London), and the remaining 80% as a City firm premium.

City firm trainees are so overpaid, it borders on the ridiculous. Overpaying for competition to get the best is one thing, but when a trainee earns more than a senior associate up north, then there is something wrong in that.

Granted – we’re talking here about a maintenance grant – so what, £20k before you’ve even started with us…

Financial Fair Play for law firms anyone?

Well yes, but...

While it is true that this level of remuneration for just studying a course is high, it bears mentioning that all these firms require future trainees to study the SQE at centres in London. £20k for that period is enough to live on and rent privately, but students who don’t have SE-based family to live with won’t exactly be living a life of unparalleled luxury – and with £17k to cover c. 10 months it risks starting to get tricky for future trainees to make ends meet without savings to fall back on. If firms want to attract the best talent including students from less wealthy backgrounds and/or from elsewhere in the country, liveable SQE grants is somewhat essential.

And so it begins…

A problem perpetuated by City firms if that is the case. The regulator SRA only requires them to pass the exams which can be sat anywhere in the country.

The problem here seems to be that these firms are causing the issue by dictating that individuals need to do the SQE in a London centre (which btw, is news to me), and in order to solve this problem of living costs, they are providing the grant. I can see the fairness in that approach but on the flip side, you (the firm) caused the problem by imposing that unnecessary requirement – and dropping the requirement altogether would be a better way to improve access to profession (if that is indeed the purpose of the funding), rather than paying these eye catching eye watering amounts.. ie paying to solve a problem you caused.

Please get some work done

It’s not a problem if it works well with all parties involved?

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