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Kirkland & Ellis's London office has increased all its associates' salaries. Bands have gone up across the board, starting with £97,000 for a newly qualified lawyer - a £7,000 rise on the previous rate.

The increases put the firm at just about Latham & Watkins' level for NQ pay, putting Kirkland comfortably in the premier league of City salaries, just behind Bingham McCutchen which pays its NQs £100,000 and Sullivan & Cromwell (£97,500). Other firms paying similar rates include Weil Gotshal (£90,000), Skadden Arps (£94,000) and Debevoise (£94,250).

One delighted Kirkland lawyer told RollOnFriday that he was now "even more overpaid". He claimed his friends at Magic Circle firms all put in similar hours for much less pay, and that he was looking forward to a Christmas of "sipping mould wine (sic) with a smile on my face".

    A Kirkland lawyer sipping mould wine yesterday

Sharp eyed readers will note that all of the top-paying firms are American. And the source at Kirkland makes a fair point: at £30-£40,000 a year more than Magic Circle rates, why wouldn't associates take the yankee dollar? The old line was that US firms were more likely to hire and fire than their UK counterparts, but following the mass redundancies throughout the City during the recession that seems hard to sustain. UK firms will have a serious fight in 2012 to retain their top talent.
Tip Off ROF


Anonymous 06 January 12 08:48

A number of firms that pay true New York rates in London will actually be offering $160,000 to an NQ which at the current rates equates to nearer £104,000!!!

Anonymous 06 January 12 11:17

This article is incorrect; I have friends at US firms not mentioned in the article who are paid more at NQ level (and whose firms pay substantially more at 1+ PQE than the firms mentioned).

Anonymous 06 January 12 11:50

sp. - mulled

You won't get hired at a US law firm with that level of attention to detail!

Anonymous 06 January 12 12:43

to anonymous user:

mould wine by the picture refers to the comment in the text above "mould wine (sic)". As you say, you won't get hired at a US law firm with that attention to detail.

Anonymous 06 January 12 13:58

Think the Weil salary might be wrong -

Anonymous 06 January 12 14:06

Anonymous 07 January 12 10:20

I don't think it's fair to give ROF to much flack for inaccuracy as there seems to be only £500 difference between the top us paying law firms (save for one or two).

Accordingly, surely the question is bonus for nqs and pay 2+pqe.