Freshfields has just announced pay rises for all its associates. They may not represent a fortune, but they're enough to make it the highest paying firm in the Magic Circle. At least until Clifford Chance announces the results of its pay review in a couple of weeks...

This year, not only will associates move up another PQE band, but the bands themselves will increase by between £1,500 and £2,000:

PQE  Old pay  New pay 
NQ £60k £61.5k
1 £68k £69.5k
2 £75k £77k
3 £86k  £88k 

So that means a 3PQE lawyer will make three grand a year more than they'd pull in at either Linklaters or A&O (both of which froze their salary bands). And two grand more than at Slaughter and May, which posted only a modest increase. Even after 40% tax that's worth having, and it's a strong expression of Freshfields' confidence in the market. Tim Jones, the firm's London Managing Partner, said that "we think these salary increases are fair and that our associates deserve them".

    Freshfields yesterday 

Associates will now be looking to this year's bonuses, and RollOnFriday will be running a survey on them. Watch this space.

Tip Off ROF