London Legal Salaries - What Are You Worth?
Updated: Dec 9, 2019
So far 2017 has been a good year for law firms. Real estate, construction and corporate work have continued to grow and there has also been demand for disputes lawyers. Even with the uncertainty of Brexit, the legal market is still showing strong signs. So, if you have a salary review coming up or are keen to move, see how you compare to the figures below.
US law firms have led the way on salary reviews and the likes of Cravath Swaine & Moore, Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy, Cadwalader, Akin Gump and Kirkland & Ellis are now paying what can only be described as obscene amounts of money across the board. To put it into perspective, for a 1st Year (newly qualified to one year qualified), the salary is around $180,000. At the time of writing, this equates to around £133,000.
Latham & Watkins has followed suit and will be paying $180,000 to first year associates in all its offices, including London. Not to be left behind, Clifford Chance have also entered the ring and announced pay rises for US associates in line with Cravath.
In London, the other Magic Circle firms have boosted salaries, but not to the same extent as US salaries. Clifford Chance NQs in London will be paid £85,000. One year qualifieds will be paid £95,000. Freshfields, similarly, will pay NQs £85,000. Linklaters will pay NQs £81,000 and with new changes to bonus structures, NQs could earn upto £91,000.
Even Silver Circle firms are getting in on the act with Macfarlanes now paying their NQs £70,000. That’s a £5,000 increase from last year. Herbert Smith Freehills have also announced post-Brexit that 'high performing' NQs can earn £90,000, which is a £8,000 rise from last year!
Only time will tell if we will now see blanket pay freezes, but certainly from a recruitment perspective, many firms are still keen to continue hiring as the work hasn’t gone away. This can only be a good thing for the future of the legal market.