It wasn't just City firms’ pay which irked GLD staff, it was how their lawyers flaunted their wealth.
As salaries for City solicitors spiral upwards, spare a thought this Yuletide for their peers in Whitehall, who are not at all happy with their pay deal.
Over 1,500 lawyers in the Government Legal Service are designated as Grades 6 or 7, which indicates that they are experienced officials with significant policy responsibilities.
A recent freedom of information request led to the disclosure of a spreadsheet of their salaries, which circulated around the GLD workforce faster than omicron, and was devoured quicker than canapés at one of their bosses’ lockdown parties. It revealed that the highest paid G7 lawyer earned £64k while the lowest paid earned £48,500, and that the majority of G7 lawyers - 583 out of 834 - earned less than £51,000.
"The majority of the workforce are stuck on 50k in perpetuity", complained one insider.
Matters weren’t helped when staff spotted a job vacancy advertising G7 roles with a starting salary as high as £61k.
"£61,000? £61,000! I had to put up with Robert Jenrick and Priti Patel for two years and I'm not on £61,000!"
"Widespread consternation" over the ad prompted senior management to email the hundreds of GLD lawyers promising them that the advert's stated salary was a mistake, and that no-one joining the GLD would in fact be offered a salary of more than £50k, RollOnFriday understands.
In a follow-up call, senior managers assured the rancorous lawyers that the Executive Team "know how bad it currently is" in the GLD, and reiterated that under their watch "no-one would join as a lawyer on more than £50k", said a source.
The lawyers were reported to be "sceptical", but also bemused that management was attempting to raise their spirits by emphasising that pay was frozen.
Pay has been a sore point for months, but the GLD's Executive Team recently informed staff that a pay review wouldn't be taking place for another year.
Instead, the team announced the holiday policy was being tweaked to allow staff to sell as much of their unused leave as they wanted above the statutory minimum of 20 days.
"These are people doing important work for the country, some of which involves national security", an insider said. "If they meant to reassure everyone, all they did is sink everyone into a deeper depressive state than they were already in".
The results of the GLD's staff survey appear to back that up. 75% of staff responded, and RollOnFriday understands that 85% of them said they were dissatisfied with pay. Announcing the findings internally this week, Treasury Secretary and Permanent Secretary Susanna McGibbon acknowledged that "some areas, like pay, we know are of deep concern".
A spokesperson for the Government Legal Department told RollOnFriday, "We are working on a new pay business case to improve our overall reward package for staff. The case will seek to address pay and progression issues at the department. Details will be communicated to staff in due course".
If you're in a firm, tell us how happy you are in the survey below. Surely it's not as bad as the Civil Service, where you're forced to party in brightly lit meeting rooms for a future story in the Mirror, when you'd rather be tucked up in bed: