08 February 2018
The further a firm's score fell beneath 60%, the greater the indication that it had a real problem with paying staff, and should consider doing it sometime.

DWF (59%) trainees and NQs regarded pay as "generally good", but they were undone by senior lawyers who complained they were paid below market or, in the case of one braveheart, that "pay for regional English lawyers is higher than in Glasgow or Edinburgh which is unjustifiable".

Pay for Fieldfisher (59%) partners was "great for those in the inner circle" said a partner. "Everyone else is palmed off with peanuts and promises". A junior associate said that "Despite pushing out numerous articles to the press about the firm's success and pay for the top of equity", pay rises for the rest of the firm "were derisory". The "constant emails to all staff about how well the firm is doing", she said, "only seek to reinforce the resentment". Another said the pay was "embarrassing" and that associates "are leaving in droves" as a result.

At PwC (55%), "We are told salaries are benchmarked against the Silver Circle", said a junior. "And that is true. Salaries are consistently £10k less than the Silver Circle".

CMS (54%) nitpickers complained that the firm "pitches itself as being among the Magic and Silver Circle firms", but doesn't write the cheques to match. Trainees at CMS "are paid at the typical rate (£40k/£45k)", said a junior lawyer, "but our NQs are on £67k. Considering that management have been trumpeting that CMS are now among the 6 largest law firms in the world, it's a bit galling". Just £67k as an NQ. Imagine. Another conceded that he thought the pay was "terrible" because "they would have to pay me a premier league footballer's wages" to "adequately compensate me for the living hell that CMS has become post-merger". Others were more positive about the merger, and the pay.

As for those Silver Circle firms, Ashurst's (54%) trainee pay was "not up to par with the rest of the competition", said a trainee, "ignoring the frankly ridiculous US pay packets whacking my US counterparts in their US faces". A junior solicitor said it burned that staff were told in a presentation that "we got paid less than the Magic Circle because we had a much better work/life balance and working culture. Yeah right".

"When I told a recruiter about my salary", said a Womble Bond Dickinson (52%) junior solicitor, "they actually laughed in my face and thought I was joking". Senior pay was "reasonable", said a senior solicitor, but looking down, "retention of juniors won't happen at the poor levels of pay offered between NQ and 5yrs".

  The Womble on the right wants out  

"Imagine trying to motivate an intelligent and highly qualified army of paralegals on the minimum wage", said a Plexus (52%) partner. "It just doesn't work". "I earn less than my partner who works as a plumber", said a junior solicitor. "I earn close to what 2-3 year PQEs earn at other similar firms", said a partner. But one junior solicitor countered that she had "enough to buy 4 bed detached in Yorkshire with my partner", adding, "We are 30. Suck that up Londoners selling souls to Yankee Law Firms to be able to buy a flat".

According to a senior solicitor at HFW (51%), "it has become an in-joke at just how tight the partners have become". Joint on 51%, a DAC Beachcroft (51%) lawyer invited others to "just look at RoF's inside info. Pay is not just below average, it is nearly bottom of the table". But a DACB partner said pay was "by and large linked to talent", and "the more irreplaceable you are the better paid you will be. PQE isn't such a big factor". A junior solicitor said the firm "continually uses the phrase 'market rate', while clearly having no understanding of what that actually means". He suggested it was "just an assemblage of words that they think sounds about right". He should take solace in the knowledge that plenty of firms were accused of bandying round the term.

"When considered pro rata on an hourly basis", mused an Addleshaw Goddard (50%) junior solicitor, "we'd be better off harvesting blood diamonds" Others countered that pay was "corrected" last year "in a vague nod to market trends and [the] retail price index".
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Comments

Anonymous 09 Feb 18

Got to love the Plexus haters. What flattery!!! Now, taking the comments at face value, Partners at Plexus earn 40-45k! I don’t think so. Obvious hater comment stirring it up. I know it’s tosh as the Partners have nice cars, decent holidays and kids in private schools. You don’t do all that on 45k. And before anyone asks, I’m not the xxx person.

Anonymous 11 Feb 18

I have the misfortune of being a Plexus employee and I can confirm what the above is saying. The equity partners do very well just like in the Parabis days. The rest not so much and most of us are just paralegals starting on £13k or apprentices on £10k with no prospects.

Anonymous 11 Feb 18

To anon at 17.33: it’s a company now. Doh. It’s nothing like Parabis and no-one is getting rich as it were. No prospects is also bull5h*t. From the figures I have seen turnover is very low and prospects are genuine. Yes I like working at Plexus BTW. It is very friendly too. Clearly you are another hater. I’m not the xxx’er either!! Also, I happen to know the Partners are working hard to keep the company debt down to virtually nothing. Sounds like a good idea to me. I hope your misfortune changes soon and that you get another job quickly. If you have any talent you surely will. And fast. Let’s hope so eh!! Haters need to move on and leave the firm alone.

Anonymous 11 Feb 18

It's strange how half the large firms in the country are included in this survey but only Plexus staff claim it's all just lies from outside sources (or haters as apparently they're in secondary school).

Why not just blame Snowball or Trotsky instead?

Anonymous 11 Feb 18

As a Plexus underling what worries me is that if staff turnover is really low like 11/02/2018 18:15 said then where is everyone disappearing too :|

Anonymous 12 Feb 18

What I find interesting about the Plexus comments are the sheer inconsistencies. One of these so called haters is having at pop at them as the Partners are allegedly making a ton of money and keeping it all to themselves, whereas another hater has had a pop at them as they are allegedly a failing firm and can only afford to pay Partners like 2-3 year qualified Solicitors! Something is very wrong somewhere and no-one actually seems to have a clue.

Anonymous 19 Feb 18

@anon at 21:19 A&O associates are on £105k (plus bonus) at 2 years qualified. At Akin Gump or Kirkland, they'd be on £150k (plus bonus). Seems a realistic comparison. Which (London) firms are paying their 2 PQEs £45 k?

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