Linklaters has become the first magic circle firm to smash through the 50,000 benchmark for newly-qualified lawyers, raising salaries by 1,000 to 51,000.
The move will frustrate rival magic circle firm Clifford Chance, which has just taken the decision to restore its newly-qualified salaries to 50,000, just one year after it had reduced them to 48,000.
Newly-qualifiedsat Linklaters are benefiting from a firmwide 2 per cent pay increase, which will be paid to all of the firms lawyers, except salaried or national partnersand members of the equity.
First-year trainees annual pay will go up from 28,500 to 29,100.
Linklaters training partner Simon Firth said the move was reflective of increased optimism across the market, although he admits: The optimism has not yet translated into a significant increase in work.
Clifford Chance, meanwhile, announced a firmwide adjustment of its salary bands, which, in addition to returning newly-qualified salaries to 50,000, sees first-year trainees salaries rise modestly, from 28,500 to 29,000.