A London Piper celebrates.

DLA Piper has hiked its London office NQ pay from £95,000 to £100,000.

The decision to increase NQ pay by 5% comes a week after ROF revealed that BCLP had increased its NQ pay from £95,000 to £105,000.

The international firm's raise leaves market competitor Eversheds Sutherland lagging on £95k. ROF asked the 'Shed if it would be matching, but it didn't respond in time for publication - nonetheless, expect to see it following suit soon.

NQs based in DLA Piper’s regional offices receive less than their London counterparts: their pay is increasing from £65k to £68.5k.

Disparity between pay in the City and in the regions has grown as a source of tension within firms which have a national UK presence. The post-pandemic WFH-era has fuelled a suspicion that lots of London lawyers are living outside the capital, relaxing in their home office, frolicking in the garden, sipping gin, and generally enjoying weighted London pay without paying London prices.

Justification for regional pay variations “is increasingly unsustainable” said a senior solicitor at Capsticks responding for RollOnFriday's Best Law Firms to Work At 2023, “i.e. if you WFH but you’re not ‘based’ at the London office, we will pay you less than someone based in another office even though you do exactly the same work from your bedroom WFH as everyone else…”

However, that particular gripe wasn't given much airplay by survey respondents from DLA Piper, who actually credited their firm for nudging up regional pay by a respectable amount.

“DLA addressed the widely voiced concerns over regional pay and gave a substantial raise earlier this year”, commented a junior lawyer in relation to the firm's 2022 NQ pay rise.

“Leading the sub-Magic Circle firms in bumping us regional lot up was much appreciated”, said another junior lawyer at DLA Piper, adding, “my friends at other firms now use us as the benchmark”.

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Tip Off ROF


Inhouse bod ex Dibbs 30 June 23 09:31

It's not a bad deal - 68K to know nothing as an NQ, live outside London and do international work.  It gives the multi-site international firms quite a big hook in the talent war.  DLA Piper is interesting - it's changed a lot in the last ten years for the better.  Much less colour, little gossip but better run, better clients and the partners earn as much as MC - especially the long-term ones that joined 30 years ago.

Anonymous 30 June 23 09:46

"6 years ago I was a 9y PQE on £72k for a DLA level firm in the North. Crazy."

But these days its £79k. So you've really shown them who's the boss, eh?

Leeds-lad 30 June 23 10:08

Impact of this at my place has accelerated the departure of many a mid-level lawyer to small firms or in-house. Getting beasted for years only to find the NQs being paid about £5-6k less than you. 

Anonymous 30 June 23 10:19

I’m a LD in Leeds on £82k. One of my team has just quit to work 100% home working (committing to 2 days a month in London) on £180k.

Anonymous 30 June 23 10:26

"One of my team has just quit to work 100% home working (committing to 2 days a month in London) on £180k"

Plz name the firm.

I can get an updated CV to you by this afternoon.

OldFart 30 June 23 11:03

"6 years ago I was a 9y PQE on £72k for a DLA level firm in the North. Crazy."

But these days its £79k. So you've really shown them who's the boss, eh?

Just the way it is - same in Bristol.

Anonymous 30 June 23 11:13

‘Should have gone to London as NQ.‘

That is the painful conclusion I reached a few years back. Oh the joys of supply and demand.

In-house bod ex Dibbs 30 June 23 11:58

@10.26 - your view is no longer accurate. DLA’s equity ladder is enormous to reflect the scale and span of its business. There is obviously a massive difference between partners in Warsaw and London, which obviously tempers down published average PEP - they’re all equity. It’s true there are people that are substantially lower but the top line partners, especially those that have been around since the ‘90s do very, very well. It’s well known amongst people that are not junior associates relying on ChambersStudent for information. 

DLAer 30 June 23 12:07

Budget good, partners withdrawals safe.

Associates: nqs on the same pay of CMS, 5k behind nrf / Simmons. All the others, few thousands up every year (which means much below inflation aka salary decrease in real terms). Attrition as high as ever. Few new partners every year so no hope there either.

DLA: Fix the pay or fix the hours!

Legal Ease 30 June 23 14:17

Eversheds, Pinsent Masons and Gowlings are all going to 100k for London NQs before the year is out

TGIF 30 June 23 14:56

I volunteer to be demoted to NQ.  Happy to do photocopying and bible compilation for £100K.

n 30 June 23 16:07

The one that is most likely is ES, might take a lil while though unless any shed lawyers has any insights?

Anon 03 July 23 22:54

The issue is less about NQ but the gap at later/senior associate. By the time you get to 7 PQE, US firms are paying high £200s plus significantly higher bonuses… the NQ pay is a distraction and an “easy give” by UK firms 

n 04 July 23 17:32

Profits have even surged; shed could rise if they wanted https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/practice/profits-surge-17-at-eversheds-sutherland/5116535.article

Anon 2 06 July 23 13:19

Re “Good Point”:  the issue of non-NQ pay is relevant even at years 1, 2 and 3… eg 3 year PQE on US Cravath scale is on around £300. That’s more than a new partner at BCLP…

So I agree with above comment that good NQ pay can be a smokescreen for crap associate pay (and also why the likes of silver circle struggle to retain good associates who move to US - only the unambiguous or less well rated (or blindly loyal!) associates stay on)

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