Pinsent Masons joins junior salary war, ups NQ pay to £97k

Five percent increase puts UK firm ahead of rivals including Addleshaw Goddard, Eversheds Sutherland and Bird & Bird

Amid an ongoing junior salary war, Pinsent Masons has increased pay for its newly-qualified lawyers in London to £97k. 

The firm previously paid its London NQs £92k, meaning they are in line for a 5% raise. The new rate puts the firm ahead of a number of rivals dishing out £95k according to Legal Cheek data, including Bird & Bird, Eversheds Sutherland, Addleshaw Goddard, HFW and Fieldfisher. 

Pinsents will also hand out a 3% pay bump to its NQs in the regions, from £61k to £63k. 

The raise follows yesterday’s news that Clifford Chance (CC) has upped pay for its NQs from £125k to £150k, a move that saw it match recent increases at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Linklaters and pull well ahead of its other Magic Circle rivals A&O Shearman and Slaughter and May, both of which still pay £125k. 

The raises mean CC, Freshfields and Linklaters pay the most among UK law firms. However they are nowhere near the top of the market, which is dominated by big US firms that benefit from being anchored in the lucrative US market. That gives them the fire power to offer junior talent in the UK 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, 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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