Linklaters revamps salaries and benefits to attract talent

Linklaters has announced a raft of changes to its salaries, bonuses and benefits in a bid to create a sustainable and attractive recruitment and retention model.

The changes, which include extra holiday, added bonuses and one day a week working from home for all qualified lawyers, follow a consultation process.

The consultation, which was run by HR consultancy Towers Watson, involved partners as well as focus groups of trainees and associates. Linklaters also ran a survey of its lawyers designed to understand what they valued most in their reward offering and took into account feedback from an October 2015 crowdsourcing initiative.

The firm is following in the footsteps of Allen & Overy (A&O) by publishing salary information which includes an annual salary plus a typical bonus payment, at two levels. One includes a median bonus for ‘median’ performers, while the other includes a bonus for high performers.

The change means a significant increase in salaries for junior lawyers, despite an increase in pay at all levels last year.

PQE Median salary + median bonus mid rating Median salary + median bonus high rating Previous salary range (not including bonuses)
NQ £81,000 £91,000 £68,500
1 £90,000 £101,000 £74,000
2 £100,000 £119,000 £83,250-£88,000
3 £111,000 £130,000 £92,500-£98,500

Linklaters said the change would better reflect the “total cash” levels which qualified lawyers could expect to receive. It added that in determining bonus levels, it would be developing the way it evaluated individual performance to fully recognise the overall contribution beyond utilisation levels, for example in knowledge & learning, client and business development and business management.

The pay levels are similar to those published by A&O, where 1PQE associates were told last year they would receive £92,000 with bonuses, up from £72,500, while 2PQE associates will receive £104,500, up from £82,500. A&O’s three-year PQEs are now paid £115,000, up from £93,500.

Meanwhile Linklaters has also revamped its leave policies. It has increased annual leave entitlements from 25 days to 27 days, and all staff will also be able to take an extra day in the month of their birthday.

There will also be the opportunity to take a four week sabbatical, comprising two weeks of paid annual leave plus an additional two weeks of unpaid leave at particular career stages. The cost of the unpaid leave may be spread over a six-month period.

Lawyers who have worked long hours will be encouraged to take time off in lieu following periods of very high utilisation, and all qualified lawyers will be able to work from home one day a week.

All the changes are effective 1 May 2016.