Linklaters associates receive pay rise in salary thaw

Linklaters has done away with its two-year freeze on associate salary bands, announcing small increases for lawyers with one, two and years’ post-qualification experience (PQE).

The magic circle firm has also upped the amount earned by trainees in their first seat but has not changed the figure paid to newly-qualified lawyers (NQs). Fee-earners will continue to move up to the next band as usual, while the firm has also confirmed that it will keep its bonus scheme for staff who demonstrate “exceptional performance”.

The NQ salary band has been frozen at £61,500, the same figure as last year, while 1 PQE salaries are up from £68,000 to £69,000, 2 PQEs will earn £76,000 – up from £73,000 last year – and 3 PQEs £88,000, an increase from £85,000 last year.

Trainees in their first seat will take home a salary of £39,000, up on £37,400 last year.

Linklaters froze its associate salaries for the second year running in 2011, but associates continued to move through the bands (12 May 2011).  It did this in 2010 too (31 March 2010). In 2009 the firm slashed band levels but lawyers still progressed up the ladder (30 April 2009).

The firm said in a statement: “In deciding our approach this year, we have looked at the market and what our competitors are doing, and we believe our package of rewards and benefits remains at the top end of the market.

“As in previous years, legal staff will continue to progress through the salary bands which will deliver a pay increase depending on the stage of their career. This approach recognises the development and increased contribution expected of lawyers as they progress through their career.”

Slaughter and May has already announced a freeze on most of its pay levels for this year (30 April 2012), while Allen & Overy anticipated Linklaters’ decision by removing its own associate pay freeze (18 April 2012).