White & Case boosts NQ lawyer pay to £150k

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By Legal Cheek on


Up 7%

The London office of White & Case has increased the salaries of its most junior lawyers.

The firm has upped pay for newly qualified (NQ) associates by 7%, from £140,000 to £150,000. It has also bumped trainee pay to £56,000 in year one (previously £52,000) and £61,000 in year two (previously £57,000).

The Legal Cheek Firms Most List 2024 shows White & Case offers around 50 training contracts each year.

Those further up the ladder have also seen their salaries increase. Associates with one year’s post qualification experience (PQE) will move from £147,500 to £158,500, while those at 2PQE now earn £171,000, up from £160,000.

The 2024 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

A spokesperson for White & Case told Legal Cheek:

“White & Case is established as an elite global firm offering highly attractive careers to ambitious and talented lawyers. Our teams in London advise leading global clients on their most important, complex, cross-border deals and disputes, and our people enjoy promotion opportunities and the benefits of the wide range of strong practices we have built in the City. Following discussions with partners, we are increasing legal salaries in London, including for trainees. The salary increases, effective from 1 January 2024, are another demonstration of our position as a leading law firm globally and in the City.”

Elsewhere, Sidley has moved rates for newly qualified (NQ) associates from £159,500 to £166,500. The firm recruits around 15 trainees each year on a starting salary of £55,000, which rises to £60,000 in year two.

A number of US headquartered outfits have upped pay in recent weeks.

Juniors at Paul Hastings will now earn a hefty £173,000 thanks to an adjustment to its $ to £ exchange rate, while Willkie Farr increased to £165,000 and Weil Gotshal move to £170,000. Other firms to bump salaries in recent weeks include Davis Polk and Cleary Gottlieb, jumping to £170,000 and £164,500, respectively.


Just saying

Still not competitive compared to other big U.S. law firms. Should’ve have least done £160 k

Of course

If you think that White & Case would reasonably have 50 trainees on 170k then you do not understand the market.

It is a completely different business model, with much less stream lined teams and more back end support. It’s easy for a smaller US firm to fund these raises. The pay comes with perks and losses.

Give me strength

Oh please. W&C has a revenue of just under $3billion, they are literally one of the richest firms in the world – if anyone can afford to reasonably match, they can.


revenue does not equal profit and W&C have one of the lower PEPs of US firms, so no they are not “rich”

Wake up bro

I’m sure partners earning millions of pounds, literally, can afford to pay associates market rate.

Who’s next?

Who will rise next? Which uk city firm you reckon?


lol. Nobody. This isnt the start of a new pay war. Just U.S firms making marginal inflation linked increases and jostling for a bit of position.

Pay war historian

Traditionally pay rises trickled down with MC or SC firms giving raises following US firms.

I’m not so sure it will be the same this time. Markets are down and there’s economic uncertainty looming (many firms are making hushed redundancies).

I think most UK firms will sit tight now. Don’t think we will see anything close to the previous pay wars.

If any UK firm raises next, i think it will be a city firm (not MC/SC) like DLA or Eversheds.


DLA already rose recently tho


DLA are not raising. In some teams they only manage to pay 1PQE £1k more than NQs..


Fried Frank at 175k


Source or just from thin air?


Source. Recently placed a candidate there.


Ahh okay fair enough. That would make it highest paying firm for NQ then right?


No. STB pays a slither more. Akin and Milbank also spot rate so not sure on their exact salary this month but it’s likely hovering around 176k-177k. MoFo rates also being confirmed but I suspect will be same.


Why did they fry Frank? What did he do? Was he a cod or a haddock?


Word on the street is Slaughter and May will be raising to 150k

SM Partner

Can confirm.


@legal cheek – can you confirm this? And the mentioned Travers and Fried Frank raises too.


Who said about travers?..

Future MC

That would be mad considering they’ve been the last in the magic circle by far to get to 125. I thought they were paying in prestige?

W&C Associate

W&C Associate here — all these articles neglect to mention that W&C did not move the grids at all since 1 January 2022. Hence, if you account for inflation between 1 Jan 2022 and 1 Jan 2024, it is a pay cut in real terms.


Why not leave then? What’s keeping you? How is the lateral market mate… surely not hard to get somewhere else after training at W&C

also W&C associate

they did move them….


Word on street you’re talking bs


W&C pay bands: NQs = 150k; 1PQE =158k; 2PQE = 171k; 3PQE+ = “Discretionary” .

So NQs at K&E, Akin, Skadden, Milbank, Latham, Fried Frank, MoFo, Proskauer, STB etc. are better off than most 3-4PQEs at W&C. The main appeal of W&C when I was a undergrad was literally the pay and the guaranteed secondment – not exactly sure what the main appeal is now particularly when most other US firms pay more and also offer secondments.

US Associate

Not everyone can work at one the aforementioned firms..

People seem to forget the excess number of TC applicants in comparison to trainee /NQ roles available, let alone specifically at elite US firms. While you can earn more at a select few firms, don’t see W&C having issues with recruitment.


depends on what you mean by “better off”. Not always motivated by money surprise surprise

Commercial pupil

You’ll earn more at the Bar


You’ll earn more at the Bar with an Oxbridge first and a BCL distinction as that is what is required for a competitive application at the majority of top commercial sets. A particularly ambitious graduate from a lowly Russel Group has a chance at W&C.

MC Associate

What would a 2/3/4PQE commercial junior tenant really be making at the Bar? Honestly? Seems mad it’d be more than a US associate.

Jealous PI pupil

Average Brick Court (which will be top end of market) Yr 1: 150k+, Yr 2: 250k+. Is desceibed as income so I assume is receipts rather than just billed. Once you take off rent + calls (say 15%ish? ) and allow for lack of emoyment benefits (pension, parental leave, sick leave etc) there probably isn’t a huge difference between that and a 170k salary.

Long term average outcome is probably still better at top end Bar over MC/American firm as most the juniors will take silk at some point in careers. The same probably isn’t true of 2PQEs making partner at MC/American firm.



Yeah the only caveat is you have to be a barrister..


Travers 132k


Lol with no partners left standing, I think not loser.


Any news on what NQs at Allen Ovary Shearman will be pocketing?

Kirkland NQ

Lol, these losers won’t be troubling my yacht broker any time soon.

Paul Weiss NQ

Will the last Kirkland partner shut the door on their way out

Paul Hastings NQ

Sadly, W&C is not part of the elite US club.


nor is PH…..


What’s going on?


I’m still surprised BCLP earn 105k as an NQ with all their issues lol

MC trainee

I’d have thought Freshfields, with their US ambitions and Cravath hires, would see this as an opportunity to break away from the rest of the magic circle and match (or at least raise to 150k / a number rest of MC wouldn’t match).

Similar logic re A&O but they’re not really the same league in the US. Don’t see SM, Links or CC raising unless those two move first. Any insights from Freshfields?

Pants before socks that’s the rule. Never socks before pants: makes a man look scary, like a chicken.

If you think any MC outfit is raising from 125k to 150k you have no business being a MC trainee with that naivety


Bakers, get it together honestly.

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