Magic circle split as Clifford Chance follows Freshfields on associate pay

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  • All about the notes.

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  • 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.

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  • Support staff increases hit a whopping 1.5% at CC this year. Of course, inflation only impacts on lawyers.

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  • 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).

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • @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.

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  • It would be interesting to know the amount they get paid on a per hour basis

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  • 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.

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