RPC raises NQ lawyer pay to £90k for London commercial team, keeps insurance salaries at £80k

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By Rhys Duncan on


Boosts for some

City law firm RPC has increased salaries for its London-based newly qualified (NQ) lawyers in the commercial team, raising them from £85,000 to £90,000.

The uplift, effective from July 1, only applies to those in the London commercial team, while those in the insurance teams remain on £80,000 in London and £56,000 in Bristol.

A spokesperson for the firm told Legal Cheek that, it “conducted a review of our salary structures across different practice areas within the firm, and as a result we decided to increase the NQ salary for our commercial practice in London to remain competitive and continue attracting top talent”.

“Our analysis indicates that the market rates for NQ salaries within our insurance practice and our Bristol office have not experienced the same upward movement and our current salaries in these areas remain appropriate,” the spokesperson continued.

The 2024 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

The Legal Cheek Firms Most List 2024 shows that RPC takes on around 19 trainees each year, with the most recent retention rate clocking in at 81%. City rookies can expect to take home £44,000 in year one of their training contract, and £46,000 in year two.

“We are committed to ensuring our compensation structures are fair, competitive, and reflective of the market conditions in which each practice area operates,” the spokesperson added. “By doing so, we continue to support the sustainable growth and success of RPC and our people.”





If I worked at a “full-service” law firm that differentiated in pay for anyone other than partners depending on practice groups, I would quit immediately.


Why? If one team is bringing in 1. more money AND 2. working longer hours why shouldn’t they be compensated more than other teams bringing in less work and clocking off earlier?

Happens for partners so why not for associates?


Because the reality is that there will be some sub teams working less hours and bringing in less income than their insurance focused counterparts… if the goal is to reward associates based on their individual contribution to the firm (be it from a turnover / hours worked / effective billing rate basis or otherwise), then having a pay disparity between teams is a poor way of incentivising their lesser earning NQs to give more than their minimum.



Minute detail rememberer

Alright Stannis Baratheon


Interesting to think £90k = remain competitive and continue attracting top talent LOL

Copy cats

Following the Charles Russell approach. They recently increased to 110k for corporate and private client and 97.5k for the rest.


Where have you heard this?


wrong its 88k for the rest


RPC continues to devalue their traditional core insurance practice, how sad. Good luck recruiting talent to teams so obviously regarded as second class within the firm.


Clyde’s have increased NQ to £85k.


Chump change in today’s market. That’s far less than inflation since they last increased.


Whilst they may see this as making basic economic sense, culturally and from a practice area perspective this is a disaster and will only cause more issues with attrition.


Loool who’s next that’s non MC/SC/US

We keep hearing whistlers of CRS but not seen any confirmation…


Loool if insurance are working similar hrs to commercial they are taking p


Who’s next CMs, the shed, Stephenson Harwood, Watson Farley??


They still boosted before slaughters, that’s a W in my book


In response to the snotty replies from people making out this isn’t a good salary or isn’t competitive – the mean average UK salary in 2024 is £35k. Getting paid £90k (or even £80k) as a newly qualified solicitor (most in mid 20s) is a great deal by any standards, particularly with the much more civilised work life balance at these firms.


Have you seen rental prices in London pal? No point comparing to “average uk salaries” lol.


The average annual salary for Londoners is £44,370 across all age groups, according to the latest data available for 2023 from the ONS.


Well will this end???


Sidley raised to £175K NQ


There are some very unhappy people in Bristol. Recent exodus of team members to direct insurance competitors (Beale & Co, CMC, Clyde’s) all for larger salaries. Yet we’re still told pay is competitive…


How on earth is 90k market rate now? What law firms are they actually comparing to? This will be very disappointing for a lot of associates. There will be even more of a need to offer non financial rewards such as reasonable working hours and flexible working.


The question as to which firms we are benchmarking ourselves against is asked time and time again here; and the silence on that question from management is deafening (and telling).

Fingers crossed

So are insurance RPC London NQs at £80,000 or £88,000? And are Clyde & Co London Insurance NQs at £85,000? What about DWF, DACB and Kennedys?

And what about for 2, 5, 7 PQE? What’s the bunching impact?

Why would anyone go into insurance or stay? These firms are on the cusp of huge numbers retiring. And when that happens, who will want to stay when the reward is so much less superior to a commercial practice? The work is no less taxing, despite what those in other practice areas may say.

Insurers are about to get exactly what they pay for: monkeys being paid peanuts, a 9 – 5 service, on a ‘deal strictly in date order’ basis. Maybe firms should charge a premium if something needs dealing with urgently. Firms can use the extra £££ to pay overtime to those who can be arsed. But once the skill and energy has gone from the insurance practices, it will be lost forever and will be difficult to replace/ replicate again.

Commercial is not that different to insurance, it just has a different paymaster with more generous pockets.


Qualify on £80k at RPC or £105k at CMS? Tricky call for those doing insurance work…


Retention last year was 66% and it’s the same again this year. London retention is 57%, 6 out of 14 trainees didn’t get jobs. Ironically the overall retention figure is being boosted by the wholly-insurance Bristol office which retained all 4 trainees. How long any of them will stay given the way the firm is treating its insurance side remains to be seen.

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