There's money in that Cave. And a small boy. He's not lost, he's happy. He's rich. Let's move on. He wants to be alone. He's Bryan. He's American. Please come away. People have gone missing in the area.
BCLP has quietly blessed its newly qualified solicitors with a £10k raise, placing them on a six figure salary.
The firm has increased NQ pay from £95,000 to £105,000, effective from January, putting its pay on a par with Ashurst and Travers Smith, and £10k beneath Macfarlanes, which hiked its NQ pay to £115k in May.
Firms tend to be fairly transparent about NQ pay, which is often the same across a firm, but a lot less open about higher pay bands, where salaries can fluctuate between and within practices.
That visibility has led many lawyers to suspect that firms hike NQ pay at the expense of higher bands for the optics, leading to hidden pay bunching up the ranks.
A source levelled that accusation at BCLP, telling ROF that solicitors above NQ level were informed that their pay band increases wouldn’t take place until the end of the year, leaving “a number of 2PQEs at the same salary as NQs”.
Such unconscionable travesties are not unknown, but associates have not been left in the cold at BCLP, the firm assured ROF, where all associate pay has been hiked, such that 2PQEs are not on the same pay as their only-just-ex-trainees.
“BCLP made the decision to increase NQ salaries from £95,000 to £105,000, effective January 2023. We also adjusted associate salaries at the same time”, said a spokesperson.
“In a competitive talent market, the salary is an important part of compensation, as are the other benefits and rewards that we provide, such as our new parental leave policy and investment hours policy, which balances high performance with time out from the office”, they said.
“The aim of this wider view of reward and compensation is to build higher-performing, cohesive, and supported teams”, (and also to make the Golden Turd a distant memory).
The raise puts BCLP in a competitive position with regard to lawyers looking to qualify into firms paying around silver circle levels, although the range is considerable: Mishcon de Reya's NQs are on £90k, while HSF is paying £120k.
But then Herbies has traditionally considered itself closer to the Magic Circle, where Links, A&O, Clifford Chance and Freshfields are all paying their NQs £125k.
BigLaw US firms still offer the most. The Cravath scale and salaries pegged to the dollar has culminated in solicitors pulling down more than £170k at firms including Akin Gump, Kirkland & Ellis and Vinson & Elkins when the ink is still wet on their practising certificates. The takeover of BLP by Bryan Cave has not, so far, resulted in that kind of windfall for its UK juniors.