City firms are hiking up salaries for their newly-qualified solicitors once again, as pay in the US creeps over $200,000. Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner is boosting its starting salary for new London associates to £88,000 from next month, an increase of 10%. The firm is also offering enhanced bonus payouts for associates who achieve ‘bonus-eligible hours marks’. More experienced associates will also enjoy higher salaries.
Meanwhile, Ashurst has increased its basic salary from £85,500 to £90,000 (excluding bonuses) with effect from last month. A spokesperson said: ‘We carefully monitor and review our pay structures each year to attract and retain talent and remain competitive.’
Earlier this year, Linklaters boosted its NQ pay from £90,000 to £92,500 plus a discretionary performance bonus. Like many of its City peers, Linklaters reduced pay when the pandemic hit, following a pay battle the previous summer in which all the magic firms increased their salary and bonus packages to a minimum of £100,000. Clifford Chance raised its NQ salary back up to £100,000 this month.
City practices are under growing pressure from US firms, whose new associates earn well above £100,000. London NQs at New York head-quartered Shearman & Sterling now receive £135,000, up from £120,000, while solicitors with one year of post-qualified experience (PQE) are paid £145,000.
It had been reported that Davis Polk, Milbank and Simpson Thacher has also upped their salaries this month, with NQs receiving $202,500, $200,000 and $205,000 respectively. Meanwhile, a memorandum circulated by Clifford Chance has revealed that US associates who qualified this year will be paid $205,000 ‘in recognition of their hard work, dedication and significant contributions’.