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This year, The Lawyer’s annual ranking of the largest UK law firms by turnover is available as an interactive, digital benchmarking tool. For the first time this will allow you to manipulate each data set against the metrics of your choice.
Gouldens has propelled itself into the realms of the US firms by increasing its trainees' entry-level salaries to £30,000.
The boost means 36-partner Gouldens pays significantly above global giant Clifford Chance for both trainees and newly qualifieds.
Gouldens has always had a reputation for paying trainees and assistants more than many of its rivals. It first announced a leap in rates in the early 1980s.
But in its November salary review (the firm also reviews in May), it decided to up trainees' pay from £27,000 to £30,000. Every six months that will rise by £1,000 until qualification, when it will go up by £17,000 to £50,000.
Clifford Chance pays its entry-level trainees £25,000, going up to £28,000 in the second year. The salary increases to £42,000 upon qualification.
Gouldens' rates have more in common with US firms, which have historically always paid more than UK practices (see box for examples). Gouldens managing partner Charters Macdonald-Brown says the increases are not a knee jerk reaction but a way of attracting the best applicants.
The firm employs on average between 12 and 20 trainees each year. It does not rotate trainees through different seats; instead it allows them to work concurrently in the firm's three practice areas - corporate, property and litigation. It also has a high retention rate of trainees, with a number of its younger partners originally joining as trainees.
Macdonald-Brown says the firm is predominantly paying for the rises through a profitable year. But he adds: "As partners we could push ourselves up the profit per equity partner tables quite easily. But that would be short term. We take a view that we have quite enough money and so should pass it on."
According to The Lawyer 100 survey 2000, Gouldens posted a 19.6 per cent rise in turnover to £33.5m. Profits per partner also rose from £440,000 to £512,000. Clifford Chance's average profits per partner are £685,000.