Paul Hastings is the latest firm to lob more money at their most junior UK solicitors and buy entry to the exclusive £140,000+ NQ club.

The Los Angeles headquartered firm previously paid £133,000 to its newly-qualified solicitors in London, but will now be providing them with a £141,750 salary (plus bonus). It may be just enough to keep them warm with energy prices soaring. 

NQs at the firm join the £140k+ bracket with their peers at US firms including White & Case, Willkie Farr, MoFo, Cleary, Ropes & Gray, WeilShearman & Sterling, Debevoise & Plimpton, Latham & Watkins, Milbank, Akin Gump, Simpson ThacherKirkland & Ellis and Vinson & Elkins (£153,000). 

Taking up the plushest seats in the club, Goodwin Procter pays its NQs a base salary of £161,500. And Milbank, Fried Frank and McDermott Will & Emery also recently raised NQ salary for US and London associates to USD215,000 - although, the converted sterling sum may vary at those firms, depending on whether they peg to the dollar or use a set exchange rate.

Also engaged in a pay war, but throwing smaller suitcases of cash, Trowers & Hamlins is raising the pay for its London NQs from £72,500 to £77,500, and from £47,000 to £50,000 in its regional offices, effective from 1 April. In a similar bracket for London NQ pay, Clyde & Co recently announced an increase to £80k, matching firms such as Osborne Clarke and Dentons.

Is your firm increasing your salary, and will it be enough to counter Black Thursday's news of rising energy bills, interest rates and inflation? Get in touch. 

Tip Off ROF


RPC associate 04 February 22 09:29

Meanwhile, NQs at RPC are still stuck on a rather pathetic £70k.  So I could get a pay rise by heading to either Trowers or Clydes....

Who’s the real sucker 04 February 22 10:21

Wow that net figure is a staggering reality check :O

£140k gross = ~£80k in the pocket. I’ll keep my £20k paralegal job thank you

@DLA 04 February 22 10:24

Not likely, the north pays less than down south, and Bristol top firms are only just paying £60-61k (CMS, OC, Simmons etc.)

DLA 04 February 22 10:39


Yes it would be 10-15% ahead of the Manchester market, which is why I am sceptical.  Big power play if true.

Big Money Manchester 04 February 22 10:57

Big power play from DLA, chucking an extra £5k at NQs...

Next thing you know, there will be fizzy water in the fridge and they'll no longer have to do a whip round for the milk in the kitchen. 

What 04 February 22 11:14

@ ‘who’s the real sucker’ 

is this satire? You can sacrifice 40k to pension and have a pretax of 100k. Build up a huge pension quickly and take home a hefty wedge. 140k is rather ideal for that.

high paying firms can be criticised for some things but certainly not the pay…

@RPC associate 04 February 22 11:16

"So I could get a pay rise by heading to either Trowers or Clydes..."

Then do or stop moaning about it? #ToughLove

Anon 04 February 22 11:21


It would be an extra 10-15k so more like a 20-25% increase on market.

Yes, it's not London money.  But you can buy a decent sized house in the nicest suburbs of Manchester at that level.  I'd be surprised if any London NQ can afford anything other than a shoebox flat, even on 100k+.

Each to their own.

Anonymouse¹ 04 February 22 11:45

Lol. 6 months in a department doing photocopying and a bit of research and you get 150k+ as a reward. 

Something is massively wrong with the system..

@DLA 04 February 22 11:58

It would be nice if they were transparent about pay so people don't have to rely on rumours. I won't hold my breath...

Ugh… 04 February 22 13:43

DLA Piper regional pay is great! Wonder if the like of Pinsents, Eversheds and AG will have any NQs staying in September when they are paying 45k to 50k.

Anon 04 February 22 15:01

I believe that AG are planning to increase NQ to £55k in Manchester later this year.  That's already looking massively behind the curve.  Maybe the pay war is finally reaching the regions?

Anon 04 February 22 15:04

Meanwhile Mills & Reeve are paying £55k to senior associates.  No idea how we aren't near the very bottom of the table for pay.

Associate @ SC 04 February 22 16:20

US firms paying £300k base + £100k+ Bonuses for 7+ PQE senior associates so it only gets better each year…

No longer in law 06 February 22 01:24

Can’t comment on the culture but PH has unquestionably experienced some enormous growth in the last few years and seem to be having some spiffing success. A well respected corporate, finance and restructuring firm. 

The NQ salary is silly across the board. No firm should be paying more than £80k for NQ, instead what they should do is to pay 3PQE+ substantially more to recognise experienced lawyers’ technical prowess and value add. Having worked at a MC firm for 11 years (and more recently quit law to work in strategy at a start-up), I honestly can’t recall a single NQ who in my view deserves more than a £80k package. Don’t get me wrong, many NQ are well qualified and assiduous individuals, but it takes time for them to develop some real skills to the point they can handle clients and the work independently. 

Weightmans-escape-committee-member 06 February 22 10:19

We got a stonking 3% in September. First one in years!!! 

Weightmans @ 10:19 07 February 22 09:41

I suspect that says more about you than it does about Weightmans. I have received a decent increase every year, 2020 aside, but I put the work in to earn it.

Anon 07 February 22 16:31

DLA regions increase to 65k just confirmed by the Lawyer.

This will massively shake up the market, and about time too!

Weightmans con 08 February 22 07:44

Sounds like Weightmans have been looking after a few special people and shafting everyone else. 



Commercial Lit Solo 10 February 22 03:08

Or you could work for yourself. I slaved away at these large firms in the US. It's just not worth it. Now I am a solo in a major US city. Most of my work is commercial litigation. Last month I billed 35 hours or so a week at $400/hr. That's $56,000 in one month, and I did not work one late night. Best to own your business if you can. Technology has made it so much easier to go solo and overhead is not that bad. Look into it. You make real money by owning, not slaving away for someone else. 

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