Lawyers working at US firms in London have been revelling in the size of their salaries in their responses to the RollOnFriday Firm of the Year 2019 survey.
"It's hard to believe your bank balance on pay day", said a Kirkland & Ellis lawyer. An associate at Weil confessed, "I mean, I'm embarrassed to admit to my mum what I earn." A Skadden Arps associate was more transparent with mum and dad about the size of his paypacket. He's become the Bank of Son. "Paying off my parents' mortgage made the savage workload worth it", he said.
A Latham & Watkins associate had a so-so excuse for not paying off everyone's debts. He grumbled that the five year average exchange rate used to convert the dollar amount to sterling meant that L&W associates were "worse off than those floating rate junkies at Kirkland & Ellis".
Elsewhere, there are signs of frustration amongst lawyers whose firms now straddle the Atlantic. At Womble Bond Dickinson an associate said that pay was a "traditional gripe" for legacy Bond Dickinson, and now "the same is true of WBD". He still has hope for "some kind of pay review now we're Wombles", he said, "but [I'm] not holding my breath".
So far, it's a mixed bag in the Magic Circle according to their lawyers. An associate at Slaughter and May said pay was "always just enough to not justify leaving to go to a comparable UK firm, but not great". At Clifford Chance an associate felt they were paid less than peers at other Magic Circle firms "which is immensely frustrating", although he conceded that it was "still impossible to say that it's in any way 'bad'". A Linklaters lawyer was clkear-eyed: "it's hard to get too concerned about earning 'only' £100k all-in aged 26".
Other lawyers pointed to the difference in pay inside and outside London. At Burness Paull a lawyer said it was "slightly depressing when we provide Scottish support on London deals and realise their NQs earn more than our senior fee-earners". But apparently the classic trade-off applied: "the difference is worth it to have a life".
Have your say below.