Magic circle split as Clifford Chance follows Freshfields on associate pay

Clifford Chance has followed magic circle rival Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer by announcing small hikes in associate salaries.


David Bickerton
David Bickerton

The firm has raised bands for associates with one, two and three years’ post-qualification experience (PQE) but has frozen pay levels for trainees and newly qualifieds (NQs). All juniors, including second-year trainees and NQs, will receive a pay rise by dint of moving up to the next pay band.

The move follows that of Freshfields, which last month boosted junior pay scales and allowed band progression (19 May 2011).

Magic circle rivals Allen & Overy and Linklaters took a different approach, freezing pay bands but allowing band progression (16 May 2011).

At Clifford Chance, lawyers with one-year’s PQE will see their pay band rise by £500 to £68,500. They will have the opportunity to boost this to as much as £89,050 if they receive an additional bonus.

Those on the two-year PQE salary rung come off best, with that pay scale rising from £72,250 to £75,000, which becomes £97,500 if the full bonus is paid. Third-year PQE salaries are up from £84,500 to £85,500, rising to £111,150 on payment of the maximum bonus.

First-year trainee salaries have been frozen at £38,000 while the salary of a second -year trainee remains unchanged at £43,000.

London managing partner David Bickerton said: “The London office has been busy, our business has grown and our associates deserve to be well rewarded.”

Magic circle associate salaries                
                 
Firm
NQ
2010-11
NQ
2011-12
1PQE
2010-11
1PQE
2011-12
2PQE
2010-11
2PQE
2011-12
3PQE
2010-11
3PQE
2011-12
                 
Allen & Overy £61,000 £61,000 £68,000 £68,000 £74,000 £74,000 £85,000 £85,000
Clifford Chance (excludes bonuses) £61,500 £61,500 £68,000 £68,500 £72,250 £75,000
  £84,500
£85,500
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer £60,000 £61,500 £68,000 £69,500 £75,000 £77,000 £86,000 £88,000
Linklaters £61,500 £61,500 £68,000 £68,000 £73,000 £73,000 £85,000 £85,000