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The sun is out – sort of - and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer associates are making hay. The magic circle trainee troupe will be kicking their heels in joy after their first salary boost in five years.
The firm has melted its salary freeze for trainee and merit-based associate pay, also held at the same level last year. Now first-year trainees will be taking home £40,500 compared with £39,000 last year while for the top rank of associates, aka CM3, the lower limit has risen from £115,00 to £120,000, topping out at £135,000.
Let’s be straight. It’s not as though these lawyers were ever scrabbling at the bottom of the pile. The firm has long been well above its UK peers by pay even with the salary freeze.
Freshfields’ move to a ‘career milestone’ model, mooted in 2009 and implemented in 2011, partly helps with that. But whether you’re talking CM3 or PQE, we can only assume the raise is A-OK with the Freshfields flock.