Norton Rose Fulbright ups London NQ salary to £120k

NRF’s UK arm ups pay for all associates, with NQs able to earn up to £168k including bonuses
Sunset at the City of London, England, with traffic light trails and illuminated skyscrapers

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Norton Rose Fulbright (NRF) has increased the salary of its newly qualified London lawyers to £120k.   

The raise comes into effect 1 April and is a 14% increase on the previous £105k. It brings the firm in line with rivals including Hogan Lovells and Herbert Smith Freehills and just behind the UK Magic Circle firms, which have upped pay for their London NQs to £125k amid an ongoing pay war that has seen junior salaries soar on both sides of the Atlantic.  

NRF said it had raised salaries throughout its London associate pay scale, “maintaining the differential between steps”, though did not disclose the figures for associates in pay bands other than NQ. 

On top of their base salary, NRF NQs who achieve the required hours or fees billed could also earn a performance bonus of up to £48k, the firm said, although it did not specify the requirements for achieving the maximum amount.  

NRF has a six-monthly performance bonus scheme, which it said would make more fee earners eligible for a bonus.  

“Qualifying fee-earners can enjoy more immediate pay back for hard work in the first half of the calendar year,” the firm said, adding that it “also creates the opportunity for a second half-year bonus for those who may have had a slower start to the year”. 

Despite the raises at NRF and other UK firms, their NQ pay still lags a long way behind that of their US rivals, which benefit from being anchored in the lucrative US market. London NQs at market-topping Milbank and Akin receive a whopping £177.5k, while Vinson & Elkins pays a shade under £174k and Kirkland & Ellis and Latham & Watkins pay just north of £173k.  

A recent round of increases also saw Paul Hastings, Davis Polk and Weil join the elite group of US law firms that pay their London NQs £170k or more.

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