Quinn Emanuel ups London NQ pay to £180k

Litigation heavyweight matches Gibson Dunn’s market-topping NQ rate as it ups associate salaries across the board
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Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan is raising pay for its London associates, with newly qualified lawyers set to earn £180k.  

The new figure represents an 18% increase on the firm’s current rate of £152k and sees it match the market-topping £180k Gibson Dunn brought in for its London NQs at the start of the year.  

Quinn Emanuel’s more senior associates are also in line for hefty pay bumps, with the firm introducing a new seniority-based scale at the start of June that will range from £195k for 1PQE associates to £355k for associates 7PQE and above, up from £160k and £295k respectively.  

Alex Gerbi, Quinn Emanuel’s London co-managing partner, said: “We are very pleased to be able to reward our lawyers for the contribution they make daily to the success of our practice in London, and we are also committed to continuing to attract the very best new talent as we pursue our strategy for further growth.  

“With that in mind, we have decided to implement material increases to our associate salaries with effect from 1 June, taking our starting salary at the NQ level to £180,000 and stepping up substantially from there as seniority increases. We believe there is no better home than our firm for the brightest and best disputes lawyers, and this decision aligns our salaries with the opportunities we offer them.”

Quinn Emanuel’s new scale sees it go straight to the top of an elite group of US firms that have increased pay for their London NQs to £170k or more amid an ongoing junior salary war happening on both sides of the Atlantic. 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.  

Elite UK firms have also been upping NQ pay but they still lag far behind their top-paying US rivals, which benefit from being anchored in the lucrative US market.  

Among the UK firms the Magic Circle has boasted the highest rate of £125k, though Freshfields broke ranks last week when it announced it was upping NQ pay to £150k, matching the likes of Cooley and White & Case in the process.  

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