Rogers & Wells is offering a $2m (£1.2m) package to lure big-hitting New York M&A partners as it prepares to merge with Clifford Chance.
A New York source close to Rogers & Wells says: "They are offering close to the $2m mark and it seems Clifford Chance is prepared to underwrite that."
Clifford Chance's choice of US firm surprised observers because Rogers & Wells does not have a strong M&A reputation in New York. But it seems Clifford Chance is now seeking to use money and the attraction of a global mega-firm to build the practice from the top down.
Bob King, who will be global head of securities and capital markets in the new firm, says of the $2m figure: "There is no number that is on the table. We would be competitive in the marketplace to attract the best talent.
"I don't know where that number would have come from but if it comes from someone stating their current remuneration let me reiterate that we intend to be competitive and we have the capability to be competitive."
A salary of $2m would make the new recruit one of the highest-paid partners in the new firm along with Rogers & Wells antitrust partners Kevin Arquit and Steve Newborn. There is provision for four or five partners to remain outside the firm's seniority-based lockstep pay structure.
King says the firm also has the option of bringing in people with "substantial rather than huge" businesses.