Champagne

Somebody has had a good pandemic


White & Case has announced a pandemic-proof pay rise for its NQs to £130,000, up from £105,000.

The US firm will also raise the salary for its 1 PQE solicitors to £137,500 (up from £110,000) and for its 2 PQE solicitors to £150,000 (up from £120,000). The pay for first year trainees will be raised to £50,000 (up from £48,00) and second year trainees will be paid £55,000 (up from £53,000)

“Following discussions with partners, we are increasing legal salaries in London, including for trainees," said a White & Case spokesman. "The salary increases, which are effective from 1 January 2021, are another demonstration of our position as a leading law firm globally and in the City.”

White & Case held its pay for NQs during the pandemic, during a time when City firms and some of the Magic Circle cut salary. During the halcyon days of summer 2019, City firms were succumbing to the NQ gold rush with the Magic Circle hiking NQ pay to £100k. It was widely seen at the time as a move to turn junior eyes back from US firms, which have sprayed NQs with salaries of over £130,000 (and that's not counting the bonus). But now, if other US firms follow White & Case with an increased wedge, the gulf in pay in the City could widen substantially. 

Students looking to chase the dollar when they graduate can apply for White & Case's virtual, and possibly prophetic, work experience scheme.

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Comments

Kt 09 October 20 10:20

God I feel poor for having gone in-house. True, I get 8 hours of sleep a day and spend enough time with my family, but the idea of a £20k payrise "just because" is slightly bewildering

anonymous 09 October 20 11:25

This is a very strong power move from W&C. They had every reason under the sun to freeze or even cut associate and trainee salaries right now. The fact they chose not to sends a very clear message that (a) the firm must be doing incredibly well and (b) the management actually cares about recognising and fairly compensating the core contributors to the firm's success (i.e. the ones that burn the midnight oil night after night and sacrifice a lot to make the firm as profitable as it clearly is right now). Well done, W&C!

Anonymous 09 October 20 13:42

How many NQs and trainees does White & Case actually have? I imagine quite a small number, and I'd question the newsworthiness of this. It's irrelevant to most lawyers and only serves to give a skewed impression of the legal profession as a whole. 

Anon 09 October 20 21:28

Of course people read the headline numbers and focus on the high sum for someone who at 24 or 25 knows virtually nothing about the realities of law and certainly couldn’t advise a client on a transaction or dispute in any meaningful way.   What people don’t focus on is the endless days and nights of churning out documents, the stress, the mental health issues, the lack of sleep and the impact on health, the dehumanising effect of not seeing friends or family or partners (no not in the firm) for days and days on end or being able to develop relationships properly and then blowing the money in the rare down time on tat to justify the horrific lack of work life balance and fact that doing this for ten years is unlikely to lead to partnership anyway.   

Ha ha ha 09 October 20 22:34

I love all the City lawyers voting up 11.25am today, in the vague hope that their firm will follow suit. 
 

YOU are a work in progress barely worth 50k p.a. You could not close a deal if you life depended on it. 
 

Get over yourself and prepare for life to be unfulfilling, as it will likely be. 
 

I speak from experience. Life is more than money and status. It should be rich and varied. 

Wildoats 10 October 20 01:31

Good grief. To the clown above who thinks the firm “cares” wake up; it doesn’t. The firm has no collective mindset. The decision making partners have decided to pay enormous salaries to very inexperienced staff. The partners need bums on seats.

Why do firms hire trainees? They’re not obliged to. Most mid-senior partners will never see a return on the notional investment they make in junior staff. Trainees and NQs are roughly twice as expensive as locum solicitors of 5+ years PQE and considerably less than half as useful. 

The profession recognises that each and every partner has benefitted from the charity of the partners before them at the start of their career and are morally bound to replicate that generosity - to a degree.

Salaries at this level for newly qualified staff aren’t free. £130k pa on a 37.5 hour week with 5 weeks holiday, equates to c.£74 per hour. Notwithstanding utilisation rates, that’s probably less than a third of their charge out rate and they’ll be working twice as many hours a week, at least. They are cheap employees - because they’re being flogged to death.
 

It’s a king’s ransom for an NQ, it’s a steal of a cost for a £1m+ pa partner and the client’s not spending their own money yet getting a result in 24 hours. It’s a service that works and which people want.

Personally the sacrifice of a life for a “high” salary at an age when life doesn’t mean much beyond status and material assets and all for a possible partnership but in decades to come, isn’t worth it. If types like that are so focused on monetary reward, why did they become solicitors? It’s poorly paid compared to most comparable roles. The answer is because they’re grafters; but they’re not the brightest. 

 

Fake Partner 10 October 20 12:58

Meanwhile plaintiffs' attorneys I know who have none of the "prestige" are making that much in the settlement of one average personal injury case. 

Link-seeyaLaters 10 October 20 16:21

Wildoats, what are these highly paid comparable roles you speak of? 

I have scoured many graduate brochures and salary guides from recruiting companies and am yet to find jobs that pay as well as NQs at US firms, with the exception of certain hedge funds. 

Anon 11 October 20 18:48

“Meanwhile plaintiffs' attorneys I know who have none of the "prestige" are making that much in the settlement of one average personal injury case.“

Not this side of the Pond.  As anyone with any nous knows, personal injury work is a one way ticket to the bottom.   
 

Presumably from your use of “attorneys” and “plaintiffs” you are a US lawyer.  

playftse4me 13 October 20 15:44

"£130k pa on a 37.5 hour week with 5 weeks holiday, equates to c.£74 per hour"

 

They aren't working a 37.5 hour week. 

Anon 14 October 20 10:28

“£130k pa on a 37.5 hour week with 5 weeks holiday, equates to c.£74 per hour"

Ah bless.  
 

More like 80-90 hours per week including weekends with three weeks holiday actually taken during which you will also work as well as on public holidays.  
 

 

anon 15 October 20 08:08

“If types like that are so focused on monetary reward, why did they become solicitors? It’s poorly paid compared to most comparable roles.“

Name other comparable jobs which pay graduates approx £150k (with bonus) two years into the career. 

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