Associates at CMS Cameron McKenna were enjoying the firm’s largesse as it upped newly qualified lawyers’ (NQs) salaries by 18.5 per cent.
NQs at Camerons now earn £64,000 as base salary, which is on par with their peers at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Linklaters. Camerons is now paying its NQs £500 more than Clifford Chance, Slaughter and May and Lovells are paying.
All of Camerons’ associates, including NQs, are eligible for a quarterly bonus.
But Linklaters’ NQs can earn a bonus of up to 40 per cent of salary, while Camerons’ NQs can only hope for 15 per cent, if they clock up more than 500 hours a quarter, equivalent to 2,000 hours a year.
Camerons’ associate bonus is triggered after recording 400 hours a quarter, which gives 4 per cent of salary. The firm operates a sliding scale up to 500 hours.
In the last quarter, up to 30 April, Camerons paid out £257,000 in bonuses to 158 associates, up from 105 associates the preceding quarter. This equates to an average payout of £4,431.
Associates can also trade part of their bonus for an extra day’s holiday each quarter. These benefits are on top of the automatic firmwide bonus of 2.8 per cent this year and a day off for each person on their birthday in celebration of the firm’s tenth anniversary.
Managing partner Dick Tyler told The Lawyer: “We recognise that people are cash-rich and time-poor.
“We think that, if you’re working jolly hard, you should be rewarded at the time that you’re working jolly hard, rather than 18 months down the line.”
Pay was just one topic discussed at the associate away-day on 11 May, said Tyler.