Magic circle firm Allen & Overy has cut the salaries of newly qualified solicitors in response to Covid-19, after boosting its pay package to £100,000 last summer. 

Solicitors qualifying in September 2020 will receive a minimum total cash of £90,000, comprised of salary and a sign-on bonus, £10,000 less than last year. Allen & Overy is the first magic circle firm to announce a reduction in NQ pay in response to the pandemic.

A spokesperson for the firm said: ‘We would like to take this opportunity to recognise that this is a time of great concern for students wondering what the future will hold for them and to state that we have not reduced recruitment levels for the next generation of Allen & Overy lawyers.’

Last year, Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance, Freshfields, Linklaters, and Slaughter and May all boosted annual NQ salaries to at least £100,000 to compete with US-based international firms. City firm Macfarlanes also announced that its NQs will enjoy six-figure packages. However, as firms continue to tighten their belts, the battle for talent is expected to ease.