Allen & Overy has made the leap to reveal that its NQs will be paid a minimum of £100k comprised of salary and sign-on bonus. The announcement leaves Linklaters as the only Magic Circle firm not to offer NQs a six-figure salary.
In May, Freshfields was the first Magic Circle firm to increase NQ pay to £100,000. This month, Clifford Chance and Slaughter and May also revealed they would pay their NQs £100,000, although this is dependent on a discretionary bonus at both firms.
The move by the Magic Circle firms is understood to be an attempt to bolster the firms' appeal to junior lawyers who might otherwise be tempted by the fabulous wages available at US firms. Akin Gump, Kirkland & Ellis, Latham & Watkins and Debevoise & Plimpton all offer £143,000 to first-year lawyers, while Davis Polk & Wardwell and Sidley Austin both offer in excess of £100,000.
With net pay of circa £5,400 a month, NQs at Allen & Overy can grab a Damien Hirst viagra sculpture every four weeks
The push into six figures by A&O piles the pressure on Linklaters, who pay salaries to NQs around the £83,000 mark.
At the start of the year, an Allen & Overy solicitor told RollOnFriday in the Firm of the Year 2019 survey that their salaries "look alright on paper, until you're in at 4am wondering why you didn't (A) go to a US firm and at least partly justify this hell or (B) give it all up to join a commune". Although a colleague contended that pay was "as good as can reasonably be expected given that life is fractionally more civilised than in the US firms". The pay rise might be a step in the right direction for some A&O associates.
A spokeswoman for Allen & Overy said "we have always been committed to rewarding our people fairly and competitively."