Allen & Overy has hiked pay for its newly qualified solicitors, becoming the third magic circle firm to offer more than £80,000 for fresh-faced solicitors.

The firm confirmed a 3% rise in NQ pay this morning, meaning that its September cohort will now gross £81,000, up from £78,500.

This puts it ahead of Linklaters (£78,500) and Slaughter and May (£78,000) but slightly behind Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, which pays its NQs £85,000, and Clifford Chance (£87,300).

The traditional elite firms in the UK have been hit by competition in recent years by US firms offering NQ salaries in excess of £100,000.

Under A&O’s new pay scheme, first year trainees will earn £44,000, up from from £42,000 (4.7%) while second year trainees will see pay increased from £47,000 to £49,000.

Trainee salaries at A&O now higher than at counterparts Freshfields, Slaughter and May and Linklaters. Those firms pay £43,000 in the first year. In the second year Fresfields and Slaughter and May pay £48,000 while Linklaters pays £49,000.

Clifford Chance leads the way, with first-year trainees on £44,000, rising to £50,500 in the second year.