Clifford Chance joins London salary war as it ups NQ pay to £150k

Firm matches Magic Circle rivals Freshfields and Linklaters but still lags market-topping £180k at Gibson Dunn and Quinn Emanuel
ONDON, UK - JULY 1, 2014: Sunbathers enjoying the greenery of Jubilee Park in London's Docklands overlooked by the gleaming headquarters of international law group Clifford Chance.

Clifford Chance's Canary Wharf headquarters Shutterstock;

Clifford Chance has increased pay for its newly-qualified lawyers to £150k.

The raise from £125k, effective from 1 May, follows identical moves earlier this month by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and then Linklaters. It puts the firm well ahead of its other Magic Circle rivals A&O Shearman and Slaughter and May, which still pay its previous £125k rate.

Despite the increase, Clifford Chance (CC) remains nowhere near the top of the market, which is dominated by big US firms and recently saw Quinn Emanuel equal Gibson Dunn’s eye-watering £180k NQ salary

Effective 1 September, CC is also increasing trainee pay from £50k to £56k in year one and £55k to £61k in year two, again matching raises handed out by Freshfields and Linklaters. 

CC’s latest pay hike means that it, Freshfields and Linklaters pay the most among UK firms, which unlike their US rivals don’t benefit from being anchored in the lucrative US market.

An elite group of US firms has increased pay for their London NQs to £170k or more amid a junior salary war happening on both sides of the Atlantic that has seen repeated waves of pay increases. Akin, Fried Frank and Milbank all pay their NQs £177.5k according to Legal Cheek, while six more – Vinson & Elkins, Kirkland & Ellis, Latham & Watkins, Paul Hastings, Davis Polk and Weil – have rates ranging from £170k to just shy of £174k.

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