Linklaters has followed the other Magic Circle firms and announced that it will pay its NQs a salary of £100,000.
In May, Freshfields became the first Magic Circle firm to increase NQ salary to £100,000. In June, Clifford Chance, Slaughter and May and Allen & Overy followed suit. However full details of the breakdown of remuneration packages haven't been provided by all firms, so questions remain over the pay bumps.
Slaughter and May has been the most open. A spokesman told RollOnFriday that the base salary for NQs has risen from £82,000 to £92,000. He confirmed that a bonus on top of that "will take the full NQ remuneration package to a minimum of £100,000."
However, the other Magic Circle firms have been cagey over the exact breakdown. Freshfields employs a performance-based banding system which used to be £85,000 to £97,500. A Freshfields spokesman did not divulge the new band, but would only say "£100k is the starting salary for all NQs - and is broadly the salary that they will be on for the first year".
At Allen & Overy, a spokeswoman confirmed that "newly qualified lawyers will receive a minimum total cash of £100,000, comprised of salary and a sign-on bonus", but would not reveal the base salary figure.
At Linklaters and Clifford Chance, while it's possible for NQs to be paid £100k at both firms, that is not guaranteed as reaching six-figures is dependent on a discretionary bonus. Again, both firms were tight-lipped when asked about base salary.
A month's net pay of circa £5,400 could allow one lucky NQ to splash out on decorative gorilla Bruce
Other City firms are also upping their pay for NQs. Macfarlanes announced that it is raising base salary from £80,000 to £85,000. A firm spokeswoman said that, along with individual bonuses and a firm-wide bonus, it was the firm's "expectation" that NQ remuneration "will range from £98,600 to £110,250".
A spokeswoman for Herbert Smith Freehills said that its NQs will be "eligible to receive a total compensation package of up to £105,000 including bonus". But Herbies was guarded when it came to the base salary figure.
The move by the Magic Circle and some City firms to raise pay is partly seen as an attempt to bolster the firms' appeal to junior lawyers who might otherwise be tempted by the eye-watering 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.