Linklaters ups London NQ pay to £150k

Firm matches Magic Circle rival Freshfields but still lags market topping £180k at Gibson Dunn and Quinn Emanuel

Linklaters has increased pay for its newly-qualified lawyers in London to £150k. 

The move sees it match Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, which announced earlier this month it was upping NQ pay to £150k, and pull well ahead of its other Magic Circle rivals A&O Shearman, Clifford Chance and Slaughter and May, which still pay its previous rate of £125k. 

Despite the increase Linklaters 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. 

Linklaters’ firmwide managing partner, Paul Lewis, commented: “We are committed to rewarding our people competitively in our market. Our salary changes reflect this and enable us to attract and retain exceptional lawyers to provide the highest quality service to our clients.”

The firm has also upped trainee salaries from £50k to £56k for year one trainees and from £55k to £61k for year two trainees, while solicitor apprentices salaries have increased from £25k to £28k. The increases are effective as of 1 May.

Linklaters’ latest pay hike means that it and Freshfields 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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