Lawyers are the most satisfied with their pay at Kirkland & Ellis.
Staff handed Kirkland a mark of 98% in the RollOnFriday Firm of the Year 2019 survey. The "highest paying firm in the City", said one respondent. "Truly exceptional", said a junior solicitor. "And I know that I earned every penny", she added. It came top for cash satisfaction last year, too.
"Top of the market - London and globally", said a partner. "You will work for it though". Kirkland makes it clear that the serious amount of cash brings with it a serious amount of work. "Mo' hours, mo' dolla", said a senior solicitor. But, that cash. An NQ rakes in approximately £146,000. "It's hard to believe your bank balance on pay day", said a colleague. "££££££££££££££££££££££££££" was all one junior could manage.
At Latham & Watkins (97%), "They just keep throwing money at us", said a junior solicitor. "Summer bonuses? Sure!" Her view was that "Anyone who complains about pay (i.e. the exchange rate we use) is an absolute arse-weasel". A colleague just about avoided qualifying as an arse-weasel by noting that "The pay is quite amazing and more than fixed share partners in a number of international law firms". However, he (and a few colleagues) described how "there is an issue" with the five-year average exchange rate to convert the dollar amount to sterling, which "means you are worse off than those floating rate junkies at K&E".
Dechert posted an exceptional 89%. Meanwhile, "You can't complain about the pay" at Weil (88%), said a senior solicitor there. "Minor grumbles about how its fallen behind some of our US counterparts - Kirkland/Latham spring to mind", said a trainee, "but perhaps the generally friendlier environment and (potentially) better hours somewhat justifies this". In any event, she said, "takes a bit of a thick skin to complain about the already eye-watering sums we are currently paid". "I mean", said a junior solicitor, "I'm embarrassed to admit to my mum what I earn".
The pay at White & Case (81%) was "very good", said a junior, "considering the other perks - among other things my hours are reasonable and the partners are nice people. Not things I would trade for an extra few bob at K&E". "We get paid well without the shocking hours elsewhere", said a junior solicitor at Shearman & Sterling (81%),. "Associates who've joined from the likes of L&W and K&E actually comment about how much better the hours are (comparatively)", said a peer.
"You also have to remember that there are people in their early-mid twenties earning six figures, which is still a little bit ridiculous when you think about it". There are times, he adds, "where I find it hard to believe I'm being paid twice the national average wage to do what is effectively glorified secretarial work (albeit at 01:00 a.m.)".
No UK firms scored higher than 80% for pay. Here is the full pay scoreboard: