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Matheson Ormsby Prentice (MOP) has taken a lead in the Dublin legal market by becoming the first firm to introduce tiered salaries for newly qualified solicitors.
The Irish top five firm made the change last October to coincide with the qualification of its most recent group of trainees.
MOP's flat rate for newly qualifieds is s54,000 (£36,350), but for those qualifying into certain finance and corporate areas, including structured finance, securitisation and asset management, the salaries can now be as high as s62,000 (£41,740).
MOP managing partner Liam Quirke said the decision to introduce the new structure was a reaction to current market conditions in Dublin.
"Supply and demand for talent in those areas is very tight," said Quirke. "This move reflects our own resourcing requirements and also reflects our strategy for the future in terms of where we see the most growth."
MOP's base newly qualified rate of s54,000 is believed to be near, or at the top of, the market for Dublin's leading firms, so the firm's new top rate represents a significant premium.
It is not yet known whether the city's other top firms - A&L Goodbody, Arthur Cox, McCann FitzGerald and William Fry - will follow suit with similar salary increases.
Eamonn O'Reilly, head of recruitment consultant Abrivia Legal in Dublin, said MOP's move was the first clear indication of the competitive nature of the Irish market at the newly qualified level.
"The Irish firms are having to change or else they won't be able to retain the best of the crop," O'Reilly said. "MOP is the first out of the traps with this tactic and it's reflected well on them in terms of being seen as a progressive firm. The critical thing is retention."