"Run Akin! Run!" Gump's salary rockets.
Akin Gump's newly qualified lawyers in the UK will be paid a converted salary that works out at a whopping £179k - the highest salary in the land, and they may not be alone*.
In April, RollOnFriday revealed that Akin Gump's NQ lawyers in London were among the highest paid in the City, with a salary of £164k, due to the Foreign Exchange rate adopted by the firm in April (£1 = US$1.3109).
However, in an internal memo seen by RollOnFriday, Akin Gump has plumped for a conversion rate for the London office of £1 = US$1.2005 from July to September 2022, as the pound has weakened against the dollar.
The Washington DC firm's rise may cause palpitations for management at other firms praying for the pay war to cool. It is understood that Akin Gump reviews the conversion rate every three months: so the salary could move again, depending on the FX rate in October.
Akin Gump matched the Cravath scale in the US earlier this year. According to RoF's orange calculator, here are the firm's current base salaries (not including bonuses) converted with the newly-adopted exchange rate:
NQ & 1 PQE: $215,000 (£179,092)
2PQE: $225,000 (£187,421)
3PQE: $250,000 (£208,246)
4PQE: $295,000 (£245,730)
5PQE: $345,000 (£287,380)
6PQE: $370,000 (£308,204)
7PQE: $400,000 (£333,194)
8PQE: $415,000 (£345,689)
The biggest salary hikes across the City this year have been prompted by US firms seeking to match or outdo each other across the pond, with the Cravath salary scale adopted by some BigLaw firms, then being converted to sterling salaries in London.
The London branches of US firms, generally take one of two approaches in paying their London lawyers in line with their US colleagues. One option is a floating spot rate depending on the FX rate each month (Akin Gump does this on a three-month basis); with some firms having an upper and lower cap, to limit the level of fluctuation. The other main option is for firms to stick with a set rate at the outset, so that the sterling salary is fixed.
It is understood that Goodwin Procter (NQ salary of £161,500), is one of the US firms that opted for the latter approach, with a set sterling salary. Other BigLaw firms that chose the former approach (a floating spot rate) should be paying their lawyers in the same region as Akin Gump this month, unless there is a cap.
It seems that Akin Gump keeps most of its staff happy when it comes to salary, not just the lawyers. In the RollOnFriday Best Law Firms to Work At 2022, many of the business services staff praised the firm for its generosity, with one saying they didn't ever want to leave Akin Gump, due to the pay. While a lawyer succinctly summed up their salary: "Phat."
*RoF understands that other US firms adopt a similar approach - get in touch to confirm if your firm is also paying its NQs a salary of £179k, or more...