HR teams

HR teams play the latest round of NQ salary "stick or twist".

Linklaters and Allen & Overy have both raised pay for their newly qualified solicitors to £125k.

"We have increased our NQ salaries to £125,000 p.a. in line with the market," an A&O spokesperson confirmed to RollOnFriday.

The rise follows previous indications by both firms that they would resist the City pay war. Last summer, Allen & Overy told its lawyers that the firm was freezing associate salaries. While Linklaters sent an internal email to say that it wouldn't "rush into matching salaries at NQ level." 

The 16% increase (up from £107,500) was introduced by both firms on 1 May. Presumably it will go down better with A&O NQs than the £10 'Percy Pig bonus' offered to some lawyers at the firm last year. 

NQ base salary at Links and A&O is now on a par with fellow Magic Circle firms Clifford Chance and Freshfields. Slaughter and May currently pays its NQs £115k. While Silver Circle firm, Herbert Smith Freehills, is in a similar ballpark paying its NQs £120k. 

However, given that it has been a year since both Clifford Chance and Freshfields upped their NQ pay to £125k, it remains to be seen whether those firms will raise in the near future, setting a conundrum for their rivals to play catch-up again.

Playing chicken in a different field, 'BigLaw' US firms with offices in London, still offer the biggest wedge by far to their junior lawyers. 

The elite US firms have adopted the Cravath salary scale over the pond, which is converted to sterling salaries when paid to lawyers in London. This has led to eye-watering sums, particularly due to favourable FX rates in recent times (some NQs may still offer thanks to Kwasi Kwarteng and Liz Truss on pay day).

Members of the £170k+ club for NQ salary include the likes of Akin GumpKirkland & Ellis and Vinson & Elkins.

Has your firm raised salary? Let RollOnFriday know.

LU iconLet top firms and companies ping your app when they like you for a role. Whether or not you're actively looking to move, keep one ear open by downloading LawyerUp on the App Store or Google Play.


Tip Off ROF


TopMan 05 May 23 08:11

As I could still be earning 40% more for doing the same hours at a US firm, I am basically working for free from mid-afternoon onwards.

Anon 05 May 23 08:19

Very bunched however, 3/4PQE at Links earning same as NQ at a US firm. Not sure I would be too happy about only earning marginally more than an NQ when they don’t even know what they are doing most of the time 

12-person table at the award ceremony 05 May 23 11:43

you’re going to get a lot more interesting mix of work and experience at Linklaters and A&O.  US firms are PE and finance process factories filled with Oxbridgers who have grade 8 in piano, a patigonia gilet/flowery dress and no idea about law.

Sponsored content 05 May 23 11:45

family, absolutely no one thinks Latham is elite. their DD reports look like they let the vac schemers have a go.

Anonymous 05 May 23 15:29

Let this sink in.

I'm a legal director in the regions. I'm on just over half that NQ salary. 

Loller hasn’t got a training contract 05 May 23 17:06

yes that’s right - quality of work doesn’t matter at all. it’s just about fancy glass offices and big salaries. 

in vino 05 May 23 17:16

It says on a par with other firms, but that’s with last year’s salary bands. So won’t they just almost immediately fall behind again when those other firms raise rates later on?

Is it true 06 May 23 01:34

I’ve heard that there’s been a mass exodus of associates from A&O. How true is this?

Anonnnymous 06 May 23 01:38

@Concerned Mama


Probably for the work life balance and not getting beasted like at other places. 

Ashurst NQ 08 May 23 17:32

Office rumour that Ashurst raising to 120k in line with HSF. Considering the likes of Travers are sinking, it seems the right time for some firms to reposition themselves in the legal market

Related News