Slaughters hikes salaries to stay in touch at the top

Slaughter and May

has sent out letters to its associates outlining their new salaries, which just fall short of the majority of the magic circle’s.

Last week’s (1 May) long-anticipated announcement, the firm’s second in six months, sees Slaughters gift its newly qualified associates a 5.8 per cent rise, taking base salary to £63,500 from £60,000. Slaughters’ pay rise takes it broadly in line with Clifford Chance‘s, which was the first firm to hike pay for associates.

Slaughters associates with one year’s PQE will receive £67,000, two-year PQEs will take home £78,000 and three-year PQEs will receive £86,000.

This means that Slaughters is behind Allen & Overy (A&O), Linklaters and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, which now offer their newly-qualifieds £65,000, £64,000 and £65,000 respectively.

But Slaughters also operates a bonus system. The firm has no target hours and all fee-earners are eligible for a 15 per cent bonus. This means that a Slaughters one year-PQE could earn more than £77,000 in total remuneration.

Like A&O, Slaughters had already increased its pay for associates by 12-15 per cent in the autumn and both firms were leading the market until Clifford Chance announced its pay rise (The Lawyer, 12 April).

Freshfields rose base salaries by an average of 19 per cent last week. The percentage rise in salaries increases the more senior the associate is.

The biggest leap for Freshfields associates is at the three years’ PQE level, where salaries leapt by 21.6 per cent, from £74,000 to £90,000.

All of Freshfields’ associates are eligible for a bonus once they have served six months as a newly-qualified. From that point to three years’ PQE, associates can earn a discretionary maximum bonus of £20,000, rising to £35,000 for more senior associates.