Hogan Lovells enters London pay war, ups NQ pay to £135k

Boost follows international Magic Circle firms upping NQ pay to £150k

Hogan Lovells has become the latest firm to raise pay for its junior talent in London, with its newly-qualified lawyers set to see their base salary increase to £135k. 

The 12% raise from the previous amount of £120k has been accompanied by trainee salary increases, from £50k to £56k in year one and from £55k to £61k in year two. 

The increases came into effect 1 May and extend to the firm’s Birmingham office, where NQ associates have had their pay boosted from £75k to £85k and trainees from £35k to £37.5k in year one and from £38.5k to £41k in year two. 

“Base salaries are only one component of lawyer remuneration,” a spokesperson for the firm said. “We operate a total compensation matrix that includes a competitive bonus scheme, taking into account both chargeable work and other contributions to the firm and our values.”

The increases continue a junior salary war that has seen repeated waves of pay increases on both sides of the Atlantic. 

The boost means Hogan Lovells’ London NQs will receive the most among the UK firms after the international Magic Circle – Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Clifford Chance, A&O Shearman and Linklaters – all of which have recently upped NQ pay from £125k to £150k. The raises left Slaughter and May as the only Magic Circle firm still dishing out £125k.

Despite the raises those firms remain nowhere near the top of the market, which is dominated by big US firms that benefit from being anchored in the lucrative US market. Last week Goodwin Procter upped pay for its London NQs to £175k, a move that saw it close in on Quinn Emanuel’s and Gibson Dunn’s market-topping £180k and move comfortably into the elite group of US firms that have raised pay for their London NQs to £170k or more. 

Akin, Fried Frank and Milbank all pay their NQs £177.5k according to Legal Cheek, while 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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