Macfarlanes ups NQ pay to £115k

Seven percent increase sees City firm remain behind most of magic circle following recent rises

Macfarlanes is the latest firm to bump up London salaries for newly qualified lawyers Krisztian Miklosy

UK law firm Macfarlanes has bumped salaries for its newly qualified (NQ) lawyers in London to 115k, according to a report from Legal Cheek. 

The figure marks a 7% increase from the previous NQ salary of £107,500 and will be doled out alongside firm and individual bonuses, Macfarlanes said.  

Macfarlanes’ raise brings it in line with Slaughter and May, which bumped NQ pay to £115k last April but opted to maintain the rate following a recent pay review, making it the only member of the magic circle not to raise NQ pay to £125k. 

Allen & Overy and Linklaters announced earlier this month they were bumping NQ salaries 16% from £107,500 to £125k, having last year failed to match Clifford Chance and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in raising their rates, citing challenging market conditions. 

However the new salaries pale in comparison to those offered to London NQs by US rivals, which benefit from being anchored in the lucrative US market. 

Firms including Davis Polk & Wardwell, Weil Gotshal & Manges and Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom have upped their rates to £165k in recent months, as part of a salary war for junior talent that kicked off during the pandemic and looks set to continue despite worsening economic conditions and news of redundancies at US firms including Goodwin Procter and Dechert

Movement on salaries in the UK, however, suggests many leading firms are weathering the stagnant economy relatively well and will allay fears widespread job cuts are on the horizon.

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