Linklaters has raised trainee pay to £42,000, a rise of 5% on last year, placing the firm ahead of Slaughter and May and Hogan Lovells at the top of the table for trainee wages among City firms.

Meanwhile, pay packets for the magic circle firm's newly qualified solicitors have grown by £3,500 to reach £68,500, as it joins other City firms in offering large pay hikes to attract top talent.

Those with one year's PQE will see their salaries jump to £74,000, £3,500 up on the year before. Solicitors with two years’ PQE will see the biggest jump – from £82,00 to £88,000.

Those with three years’ PQE will get £98,500 - £5,000 more than last year.

Simon Branigan, graduate recruitment partner at Linklaters, said that the new salaries, coupled with performance-related bonuses, make the package the firm offers ‘extremely competitive’ in order to attract and retain ‘some of the brightest and best talent in the market’.

Slaughter and May and Hogan Lovells, meanwhile, have boosted pay for newly qualifieds to £70,000, a 7.5% jump on last year.

Max Harris, an associate at Baker & McKenzie and chair of the Law Society's Junior Lawyers Division, said the salary rises were evidence of increasing confidence in the market and strong competition within the City to attract the best talent.

‘It is great for the individuals involved, but more than this, the reality is that firms are only able to increase salaries when business is healthy. Therefore, this news suggests a positive picture for the City.’

But Harris stressed that these salaries did not reflect the situation outside the City. He added: ‘Students who are attracted to a career in law due to the high salaries should be aware that the majority of junior lawyers do not earn anywhere near this much. For example, recent figures suggest that the average pay of a trainee solicitor outside London is £18,900.’