Freshfields has raised NQ pay to £100,000.
The 18% increase of £15,000, effective from 1 May, does not include the firm’s discretionary performance bonus.
The bump-up from £85k is likely to kickstart a round of matching increases at the four other Magic Circle firms. Otherwise they’ll be a revolt.
Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance, Linklaters and Slaughter and May all pay NQs around £83,000, with bonuses capable of taking them up near the £90k mark.
Freshfields‘ new six figure salary doesn’t reach the crackers heights of some US firms - Kirkland & Ellis pays NQs £146,000 in London. But it makes the Magic Circle deal, of quality work but hard hours, a lot more attractive to new solicitors considering their options, and to top students considering their offers.
A spokesperson for Freshfields said, “Our pay offering is a critical part of our talent strategy and reflects our continued commitment to attracting and retaining the very best talent in the legal market. We regularly review our compensation and benefits across the firm with this in mind.”
Read more on Friday.