Newly qualified solicitors at international firm Norton Rose Fulbright could earn as much as £168,000 next year, the firm announced today, as latest statistics show the legal services sector continuing to defy the economic downturn. 

In a statement this morning, Norton Rose said that, following a regular benchmarking review, it had increased its London NQ salary to £120,000 from 1 April. NQ lawyers 'who achieve the required hours or fees-billed multiple' can also receive a performance bonus of up to 40%, equating to a maximum reward of £168,000. 'We have also raised salaries throughout the London associate pay scale, maintaining the differential between steps,' the firm said. 

The announcement is the latest indication that City salaries are continuing to rise despite a slump in M&A work. European firm Fieldfisher last week reported that staff wages rose by 24% in the year to 30 April 2023. 

Meanwhile official economic statistics show the legal services sector continuing to hold its own despite the UK's slide into a technical recession. In December 2023 legal sector revenues grew by 7.5% from the same month the previous year. The figure of £4.26bn was 3% up from November. The figures appeared against an overall fall of 0.3% in gross domestic product in the final quarter of 2023 following the previous quarter's 0.1% decline.

Jessica Clay, legal regulatory partner at London firm Kingsley Napley, said: 'The legal industry continues to show its resilience and this growth is in sharp contrast to the wider GDP figures released by the Office for National Statistics. However, there is no room for complacency and firms must continue to plan for the unexpected in terms of the overall economy, manage regulatory risk and service clients well, whilst also monitoring costs to ensure continued growth.'


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