News Careers Magic circle split as Clifford Chance follows Freshfields on associate pay By Margaret Taylor 7 June 2011 13:21 17 December 2015 14:51 Sign in or register to continue reading. It's FREE Sign in Email Password Keep me logged in Forgot your password? Not registered? It's FREE! Register now Register with The Lawyer Anonymous 7 June 2011 at 14:15 why is the lawyer just focussing on magic circle pay rises? what about the rest of the top 10/20? It makes for more interesting reading when you compare a larger group of firms…. Reply Link Anonymous 7 June 2011 at 15:13 Are these pay rises annual or bi-annual and do they even outstrip inflation? What was the recent average bonus of a PQE 2, 3, … associate and how realistic is it for a junior associate to expect a 20k “full bonus”, and what does she have to do for it? Reply Link Anonymous 7 June 2011 at 18:05 Please reference the source of the data. It would be interesting to see the same for the Top 20 (I do get fed up with the narrow focus on magic circle) as well as above 3PQE. The salaries look surprising similar at these firms and I wonder if their rates and utilisation are also so uniform accross these grades! Reply Link Ashley Balls 7 June 2011 at 22:44 How unfortunate to see the scale of the bonus that may be paid. Not only is it coungter-intuitive it is not supported by empirical evidence. Research from the 1980s right up to teh present day clearly shows teh disruption that can occur when bonus payments make up such a significant portion of pay. Employees focus on those elements connected to bonus payments and client relationships suffer and employment stability falls. Just look at the banking sector to see what a mess can develop. This is not a wise move and it begs the question; why not use a good employment agreement and appraisal process to drive performance? Reply Link Anonymous 8 June 2011 at 09:51 The PQE model is bizarre. Why should salaries increase just because you’ve sat behind a desk for a year? More experience doesn’t equate to being better. Salaries should only be on performance. Reply Link Anonymous 8 June 2011 at 09:56 are you being dumb, 9.51am? More experience does equate to being better. It might not increase your natural intuitive ability, but you certainly do things quicker and become more aware of the issues that your clients are facing and ways of dealing with them. Reply Link Behind Bars 8 June 2011 at 10:16 A little perpective please. MPs salaries are currently £65738, frozen from 2010. Reply Link Anonymous 8 June 2011 at 10:53 please show me a meaningful selection of CC associates who have ever been paid a bonus of almost £25k before factoring this in total comp! Reply Link Anonymous 8 June 2011 at 11:36 Anonymous | 8-Jun-2011 9:51 am, what are you on about? Trainees start at CC with zero legal experience (hence the need to train). They then gain more experience over their years with the firm (that’s why most trainees go there I imagine). Experience will generally make them better lawyers (do you seriously disagree with that?). Sure, there will be some divergence as to how quickly they improve (depending on their particular ability and experiences), but in general they will get better. This won’t necessarily hold true for the entirety of their careers, but for those early years (and trainees probably only stay at CC for 4 – 6 yrs on average anyway), they will get better as their PQE increases. If they do not get better then they will be made to realise that CC is not for them. And if they do nothing but sit at their desk year after year then this will happen very quickly… Reply Link Anthony 8 June 2011 at 12:10 “A little perpective please. MPs salaries are currently £65738, frozen from 2010.” We’re talking about people who actually work for a living, not tax-consumers. Reply Link Hugey 8 June 2011 at 12:29 All about the notes. Reply Link Anonymous 8 June 2011 at 13:30 No, 9.56am, I’m not. You could have someone who’s 2 years PQE who has a greater understanding of the issues that clients face and be able to offer a better service and insight than someone with 3 or 4 PQE. Sure, experience in itself may be an improvement, but it should not be the overriding measure of remmuneration. A far better system would be to ditch PQE banding completely, and instead have a career structure that looks at a variety of factors (client service, technical knowledge, business development etc.) and be completely merit based. Being “generally better” by doing your job for another year should not result in a salary jump of £8k. Reply Link Anonymous 8 June 2011 at 14:52 Support staff increases hit a whopping 1.5% at CC this year. Of course, inflation only impacts on lawyers. Reply Link Anonymous 8 June 2011 at 15:49 Yes, 1:30pm, you are. Sure, you *could* have “someone who’s 2 years PQE who has a greater understanding of the issues that clients face and be able to offer a better service and insight than someone with 3 or 4 PQE”. But on average (and I would suggest in the vast majority of cases) that won’t be how things are. More importantly, how would you suggest law firms go about comparing the relative merits of their lawyers if they ignore PQE? They’ll be doing different work, in different areas, for different clients and with different levels of responsibility (eg comparing a senior associate in finance with a junior in real estate). Despite the best efforts of the HR folk, I’ve never seen any set of objective appraisal criteria that could adequately distinguish the relative performance of two different lawyers of the same PQE, never mind different PQEs. The reality is that appraisals in our profession inevitably involve a lot of subjective judgments, and it is better if those subjective judgments aren’t the sole determinant of remuneration. That’s why firms focus primarily on PQE when setting salaries, but then use their appraisal processes to fine tune the remuneration and to give the lawyers in question a feel for whether they are doing well/badly relative to their their level of experience (and hence whether the firm will want to keep them for the longer term). Reply Link Anonymous 8 June 2011 at 16:59 The real news is being missed here… the MC and Silver Cirule are falling behind in terms of pay and resting on their laurels, while others push forward. Other firms in the Silver Circle are not moving their NQs up to 1 PQE until 18 months PQE (I have heard that this is the case at Herbert Smith and some MC firms). Take Watson, Farley & Williams for example (also on the front page today, I see), their September 2011 NQs are being paid £62k, while their 6 month PQEs are paid £67k at the moment. Reply Link Anonymous 8 June 2011 at 17:25 Anonymous 4.59pm is on the right lines here but I would say that it is the legal profession as a whole that is now falling behind on salaries (excluding partners). There are very very many jobs out there now paying more. Mid ranking researchers are on 100K plus, GPs are on 150K plus, dentists 200K plus. The gap between partners and associates has never been greater. Reply Link Anonymous 8 June 2011 at 17:56 @5:25pm Don’t believe all the GP bashing the Government are so keen on. The average earnings of a GP partner are 110k, a salaried GP is about 74k. Their wages are not relative to London, either; the highest earning GP was in the Outer Hebrides. Reply Link John Tomlinson 15 June 2011 at 09:02 It would be interesting to know the amount they get paid on a per hour basis Reply Link Anonymous 24 June 2011 at 17:06 Agreed with Anonymous | 8-Jun-2011 10:53 am. I haven’t heard of any NQs getting bonuses in CC, much less the generous £10K that was implied in this article. Reply Link Name Email Cancel reply Threaded commenting powered by interconnect/it code.