Slaughters boosts trainee pay – still ‘carefully considering’ NQ lawyer salary

Avatar photo

By Thomas Connelly on


Magic Circle rivals all increased to £150k

Slaughter and May has confirmed salary increases for its trainees but is still “carefully considering” pay boosts for newly qualified (NQ) associates, after all its Magic Circle rivals raised their rates to £150,000 in recent weeks.

Slaughters announced that rookie pay will increase from £50,000 to £56,000 in year one and from £56,000 to £61,000 in year two, aligning the firm with the rest of the Magic Circle.

But no decision has been made yet on NQ rates. While its Magic Circle rivals have all recently increased salaries from £125,000 to £150,000, Slaughters says it is still “carefully considering” its position and will inform lawyers as soon as a decision has been reached. The Legal Cheek Firms Most List shows it currently offers an NQ rate of £125,000.

The 2024 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

In an internal memo to associates, published by the website RollOnFriday, the firm says it has been “closely monitoring the decisions by a number of firms to increase headline NQ salaries” and that it takes matters relating to pay “very seriously”.

“[I]t is important that our approach to associate pay reflects and reinforces our values, allows us to attract and retain the best talent and ensures that we maintain our culture of excellence and collegiality in all parts of the firm,” the memo continues.

Earlier this week, Legal Cheek reported that Hogan Lovells had increased NQ salaries to £135,000 in London, leapfrogging Slaughters on the pay table.



So pleased to see none of the big parties will be taxing the market topping prestige increase Slaughters gave us this year.

My prestige ISA looking very healthy at the moment, really excited to put it down as deposit on my first flat.

Rupert; you know the name, you know the game 🇺🇸


Chicken feed, dear boy/girl/nonbinary.



There are a number of things that make Slaughter and May a much more appealing firm to work at compared to higher paying firms. Here are just a few.

1. The multispecialist approach builds a comprehensive knowledge base that can be applied to more specialised areas.

2. The level of intellectual stimulation that you get. Slaughter and May lawyers are very cultured, and tend to have a serious interest in music, literature, the Arts etc. The phrase “effortless superiority” comes to mind.

3. As everyone knows, they advise more top FTSE 100 companies than any other firm.


Bubba Gump


Disgruntled junior

Right, because all of those things pay the bills.


What on earth is a “top FTSE 100 company”? A company’s in the FTSE 100 or it isn’t.

In any case, given the performance of the FTSE recently this is like someone boasting they’ve coached more Division 2 football clubs than anyone else.


Please god be satire.


The stereotype is that lawyers are boring, humourless and have no personality. We all know that isn’t true. Lawyers are normal people. However, the people who can’t tell this post is sarcasm are not normal.


Thank you for your excellent and carefully crafted review of the high quality work lawyers can expect from Slaughter & May.

(we can confirm that your cheque was signed by finance this morning and is in the post)


Because £125K can’t pay bills…


You’re missing the point.

If you’re working constant 12 hour days and your competitors are paying 15k more for the same or less hours you are being mugged off.

It’s not about paying the bills, it’s about being paid what you are worth and what you are bringing in.

Disgruntled junior

Are you dumb? I’m not saying current NQ salaries are objectively low, but was mocking Slaughters for relying on purely objective / non-financial reasons (e.g., prestige) to justify not raising NQ salaries, while using those same reasons to position itself above the other Magic Circle firms.

Dreams are for dreamers

S&M isn’t above the other Magic Circle firms, and certainly not as prestigious. It’s more CMS / Taylor Wessing at best.


There are healthier ways to cope with a previous open day rejection, fresher.


I know legal cheek staff is busy with revising the NQ salaries lool


I have a feeling they’re going to go higher than the rest and go for something like 165k in an attempt to get themselves out of the rat race in the next couple of years. May be tosh but my instinct is this.

Thought leader

This is tosh.


Confirmed – this is tosh.

Join the conversation