Hammonds joins ‘war for talent’ with new deals for associates

Hammonds has become the latest firm to join the associate pay war, announcing pay rises for all its newly-qualified solicitors (NQs).

Salaries for the firm’s City NQs will increase by almost a quarter from £48,000 to £60,000 with the new intake in September, bringing them close behind those at national rivals Eversheds, which recently upped City NQ salaries to £62,000 (as revealed in The Lawyer today), and Addleshaw Goddard, DLA Piper and Pinsent Masons, which recently increased City NQ pay to £63,000.

Managing partner Peter Crossley said: “The lower end of the market is the most active for pay that I have ever seen, and there really is a war for talent. Most firms like ours spend a huge amount of time and effort recruiting trainees, and all of us want to hold onto them.”

Outside the City, Hammonds has increased NQ salaries 18 per cent from £34,000 to £40,000, matching the new rates for regional NQs at Addleshaw Goddard and Pinsents Masons, and beating those at both Eversheds (39,000) and DLA Piper (£36,500).

Hammonds has also introduced a bonus scheme for its junior lawyers. Those on the firm’s bottom rung, known simply as ‘lawyers’, will qualify for a performance bonus of up to 10 per cent, meaning NQs at the firm’s City office could bring in as much as £70,000 by the end of their first year, far clear of NQs at rival firms.

Solicitors at the next rung up, termed ‘associate’ can qualify for a bonus of up to 12 per cent of their salaries, and ‘senior associate’ for a bonus of up to 15 per cent.

The firm has also announced that holiday entitlement and other benefits will also increase with status, while the firm’s flexible benefits package, introduced in 1999, allows lawyers to purchase extra holiday or to ‘sell back’ holiday days for extra pay.