Linklaters holds associate pay bands at 2009 levels

Linklaters has become the second magic circle firm to announce its associate pay scale for the coming year, with the firm maintaining its current rates after reducing them 12 months ago.

Last year, Linklaters was one of the few firms not to freeze pay for associates, preferring to reduce its associates pay bands, resulting in an effective pay rise of between two and four per cent for anyone moving through the bands.

This year, a newly qualified lawyer at the firm will earn £61,500, while someone with one year’s post-qualification experience (PQE) will take home £68,000. This figure compares to £70,400 for a one-year PQE in 2008.

Two-year PQEs will earn £73,000, with that figure rising to £85,000 at three-year PQE level.

Linklaters also confirmed that it will be paying associate bonuses as usual, but would not reveal what proportion of assistants would receive them.

Caroline Rawes, Linklaters UK HR director, said the move signalled a “return to business as usual” following last year’s reductions.

She added: “Every year we look at our salary approach and review it in line with the salary market. We considered whether the market had moved significantly and felt that the appropriate approach was to keep salaries as they are.”

In February, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer became the first UK firm to lift the associate salary freeze put in place last year (25 February 2010). However, it did not announce any hike in pay, meaning its NQ rate stayed at £59,000, with one-year PQEs taking home £66,000.