Magic circle firm Clifford Chance has announced a revised compensation structure for its London lawyers under which three-year qualified solicitors could earn £130,000 for making an ‘excellent’ contribution to the business.
The firm said the new packages - made up of a fixed salary and bonus - will be based on the solicitor’s contribution to the firm’s success over the course of the year.
A newly qualified solicitor, on a £70,000 salary last year, will receive £85,000 in total compensation for the 2016/17 financial year.
Solicitors with one year’s post-qualification experience, on a salary of £75,500 last year, will receive a total of £95,000.
Those with two years’ PQE, on a salary of £88,000 last year, will receive an average total compensation of £100,000 if they make a ‘good’ contribution to the firm, or £119,000 for an ‘excellent’ contribution.
Solicitors with three years’ PQE will receive an average of £111,000 for a ‘good’ contribution or £130,000 for an ‘excellent’ contribution.
The firm told the Gazette that the ‘good’ and ‘excellent’ bands were more than just about billable hours. They take into account factors such as helping with business development, thought leadership, campaigns, training and corporate social responsibility.
Trainees will take home larger pay packets from September. Salaries for first-year trainees will increase by £1,500 to £43,500; second-year trainees will see their salaries increase by £1,700 to £49,000.
Explaining the principles behind the compensation structure, London managing partner David Bickerton (pictured) said, for instance, that the firm expects newly qualified solicitors and those with one year’s PQE to ‘work hard to develop the skills and good habits of an exceptional lawyer so their contribution is assessed on the basis of whether or not they are acquiring these skills and habits’.
The firm has also announced that the compensation package includes a ‘technology boost’ to enable lawyers to invest in equipment - on top of the laptops the firm provides - to enable them to work remotely.
However Bickerton said the firm expects its ‘early years’ lawyers to work in the office.
He added: ‘Enabling remote working changes nothing in terms of our commitment to deliver for clients and, given our exceptional facilities, [we] believe that the office is usually the most effective place to work.’