Goodwin Procter raises NQ salary to £175k as London pay war continues

Increase from £160k sees it join elite group of US firms paying £170k or more

Goodwin Procter has confirmed today it is raising pay for its newly-qualified lawyers in London to £175k. 

The rise, effective from 1 September, represents a 9.4% increase on the firm’s current rate of £160k and sees it move comfortably into the elite group of US firms at the top of the market handing out £170k or more. 

From the start of September Goodwin will also raise trainee salaries, from £52k to £55k in year one and from £57k to £60k in year two. 

According to Pirical, Goodwin is the 14th-largest Am Law 100 firm in London in terms of headcount and employs 140 associates. Total lawyer headcount has grown by 3% over the last 12 months. 

The increases continue a junior salary war happening on both sides of the Atlantic that has seen repeated waves of pay increases. At the start of last month Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer raised NQ pay from £125k to £150k, with identical raises subsequently implemented by its international Magic Circle rivals Linklaters, Clifford Chance and A&O Shearman. 

This quartet and Slaughter and May – the only Magic Circle firm still paying £125k – boast the highest rates among the UK firms but nevertheless are a long way from the top of the market, which is dominated by US firms. 

Being anchored in the US market gives US firms the firepower to offer their junior talent in London eye-watering sums, with Quinn Emanuel recently matching Gibson Dunn’s market-topping £180k NQ salary.

Not far behind them is an elite group of US firms which have increased pay for their London NQs to £170k or more. Akin, Fried Frank and Milbank all pay their NQs £177.5k according to Legal Cheek, with Goodwin’s rise seeing it sit just behind them. 

Meantime six more firms – 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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