Weil Gotshal cuts NQ salary to £85,000

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  • How on earth will they manage on such a meagre salary (not)?

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  • Is this supposed to be some form of bad news? I think anyone who's newly qualified is lucky enough to have a job let alone an excessive salary.

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  • Nightmare. I'd love this story to hit the national press alongside stories of BA cabin crew having their salaries cut to £11k and thousands of autoworkers getting laid off.

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  • BA cabin crew didn't do as well at school and may not have been to university (and are unlikely to have done well at a good one). That there's the market you keep hearing about. Clients want educated, self-disciplined individuals advising them, not people who went out on the razz in Burnley town centre the night before their GCSEs, with predictable results.

    If you weren't aware that getting ahead requires having a strong CV, consider yourself disabused.

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  • I was nearly sick in my morning coffee just then.

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  • Those who work for Weil are highly educated. So the market has decided these individuals are worth £85K. Good for them, I wish I was on £85K.

    The real sticking point is if a Weil trainee due to qualify in Sept starts complaining about how low this salary is. Then you can say - what a bell end

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  • @playftseforme People like you make me sick.

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  • Yep, the free, undistorted market has determined Weil's salaries, while anyone on less than a subsistence wage deserves to be there because, having had exactly the same opportunities, they chose to be lazy.

    Incredible, but I've grown to expect these kinds of attitudes from fellow lawyers.

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  • BigPig, then I suggest the City isn't for you.

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  • If you think of the hours most of them were doing to get it (at least up until last year) then I would say no thanks. I think there's still a difference between the demands of US clients compared to UK ones in terms of how immediate they want a response

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  • Disappointed, the market determines BA cabin crew salaries too. If you don't like the market, go and live on a small island in the Pacific. Your Chancery Lane address suggests, however, that you're taking your chances with capitalism. Sorry it isn't working out for you.

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  • @Anonymous, 11.45 am

    There may be a difference in how immediately US clients want a response, but there is generally a negligible difference in terms of general workloads on lawyers at US firms compared to those at London City firms. Certainly not enough to justify paying an NQ £85k!

    In my experience, the response demanded by US clients is typically no different to the response demanded by Russian or Middle Eastern clients. Such clients usually have little understanding of how realistic such timing may be, and often don't care what the response is. They just want it quickly and believe that as they are paying for the service, they should get it instantaneously. The number of times clients have turned round to me and expected an amended document to be sent out the minute they provide their (generally useless) comments...

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  • playftseforme - I agree with your point about working hard and (sometimes) getting what you deserve. but you have to admit that for very many who don't have the good fortune at the right time, it won't matter how hard they work, these opportunities just won't come their way?

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  • I qualified in March 2009 and joined a FSA regulated company in the City. My salary in slightly under City rates (private practice) but I have no billable targets and leave the office at 6pm everyday. Working in house is definitely the way forward!

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  • @playftse

    I think you may have missed my point, just slightly.

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  • playftseforme - for someone who quite obviously has an incredibly high opinion of himself and his so called intelligence, he has completely missed the point that the previous poster was trying to make.

    The sort of vile person that unfortunately I come across too often.

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  • playftseforme - the parents of BA cabin crew probably couldn't afford to send  their kids to Eton or play polo with high court judges or whatever.... looking down your nose at people who are trained to save your life in case of emergency and who are paid a pitiful wage for doing so suggests to me that you are more than slightly out of touch with the real world. What really makes your lift more important???

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  • I must apologise for not attending Eton.

    As for the rest of the comments above, as usual there's a lot of huffing and unargued indignation as soon as someone compares City pay to nurses' pay and the like.

    Pointing out that the market determines salaries and that's it's up to you to make the best of it hardly amounts to looking down one's nose at anyone. It's merely stating the obvious. If you don't like it, vote for Scargill and nationalise the entire economy. At least then we'd all be poor together.

    The cause of the lower paid would be better served by posters able to argue their case. Hissy fits as above just make you look silly. (By the way, are you still banking those City pay cheques?)

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  • I knew I should have been a Solicitor instead of a Barrister.

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  • The BA cabin crew may not have taken the opportunities afforded to them, but I'm sure they understand English grammar ("that's its" in the third paragraph)

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  • playftse is a well-known "persona" on a lawyer chatboard and his assumed superiority complex should be taken with the proverbial grain of salt. But the point he makes is entirely valid. If people are accepted by, and willing to put up with the pressure of working for, a top-flight firm ,and are able to command top remuneration for doing so, why do you begrudge them for it?
    I haven't noticed any associate at Weil actually complaining about this very modest pay cut or freeze -- it is just The Lawyer setting up its usual "straw man" to attack. This is, of course, the same publication that gleefully publishes league tables on profit per equity partner, etc. and has helped create the climate of "law is big business and the people who earn the most are the winners".
    More power to the people at places like Weil if they can command such remuneration. Nobody is forcing any of you to do the same.

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  • Un-bloody-believable. my NQ starting in 1992 was £18K. This gives a genuine problem to the rest of the market - I'm in-house and we simply cannot offer that kind of money. It's unrealistic, never mind plain stupid. Nobody is worth that after articles..nobody...not even the very best summa cum laude from Harvard.

    And yes..I vote Tory and I'm not jealous - I'm annoyed.

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  • I know playftseforme and can confirm they are not a "big hitter" on a mega salary but a big headed junior who needs to get on with their work or face up to the consequences. The attitude is something we are trying to change.

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  • "Clients want educated, self-disciplined individuals advising them"

    Correct.

    But we don't want to be advised by, or even to find ourselves in the same jurisdiction as, jumped-up, self-impressed, tedious little bumptrumpets like you, thank you very much.

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  • I’m a capitalist as much as the next guy but please don’t pretend that it’s a level playing field out there. The majority of City workers have been shepherded zombie-like from private school to university to well-paying jobs, their passage along this well-travelled road smoothed by pushy parents, generous financial backing and a supportive network of upper middle-class contacts. Apart from the obligatory year out helping lepers with their knitting or washing elephants, 90% of them haven’t done anything with their lives and quickly reach the conclusion that anyone outside their cosy little privileged bubble is there because they were born stupid or didn’t work hard enough. Which, as we all know, is rubbish.

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  • "playftse is a well-known "persona" on a lawyer chatboard and his assumed superiority complex should be taken with the proverbial grain of salt. But the point he makes is entirely valid."

    The second sentence renders the first otiose.

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  • As an in-houser at a FSTE 100 company who's about to embark upon my 8th year PQE, yet still earns appreciably less than £85,000, I can't deny that it's more than a little galling to see this amount of money thrown at NQs.

    And surely you cannot seriously argue that a newly qualified lawyer at any firm and regardless of "potential" ability (except maybe those few NQs who have qualified as lawyers following years of business experience, say) is actually worth £85,000?

    Yet, at the end of the day, if these firms consider these levels of pay to be justified, then it's presumably because they are able to bill their clients at equally exorbitant rates - I don't know what a NQ at Weil Gotshal commands per hour, but assuming it is commensurate with the remuneration they actually receive, surely we should really be saying: more fool the clients who choose to pay Weil Gotshal NQ rates when there are equally good firms out there charging a lot less for someone who has actually got some genuine experience?

    Oh yes: Am I bitter about the fact I have 7 years more post-qualification experience but haven't hit those lofty salary heights? Not really - I just look at it as me "buying" a good balance between my work and my family life in a way that suits me.

    Money really isn't everything.

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  • Quite a good point - they wouldn't be earning this sort of salary if they weren't bringing the money in. Quite why anyone pays that sort of fee for an NQ is beyond me though.

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  • Not really, playftse. You can make a perfectly valid point -- as you have -- but without doing so in a needlessly and superfluously insulting manner. It's all about style vs substance.

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  • I went to law school with two current W&G trainees.
    Both of them obtained their contracts due to family connections.

    playftseforme if you believe that the free market just rewards the brightest and the best you are sadly mistaken.

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  • I wonder could any of them fill in a legal aid application?

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  • Hark at the embittered city workers! Playftseforme is just stating facts. If you lot think the world of work is so unfair I am surprised you bother with it. Perhaps you don't.

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  • Disgruntled, if they couldn't fill in a legal application who would care? It has absolutely no relevance to their job.

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  • The reason why firms like Skadden, Clearly, Latham and Weil can afford to pay NQs higher salaries in comparison to its City counterparts is partly down to the smaller intake. These firms are competing with the more established MC firms for quality trainees/associates and thus offer higher salaries as an additional benefit with which to lure the best talent.

    As for the profile laid out above of the polo-playing Eton-educated upstart - none of the trainees/future trainees whom I have met seem to fit it. In fact, Weil appears to have recruited more down-to-earth and intelligent people than those I have encountered at other firms.

    I don't understand why the credit crunch is suddenly causing some to focus on others' salaries. I'm sure that nobody at Weil is complaining about the freeze/cut. I don't think The Lawyer is doing anything wrong by reporting this story either. It is useful for those who may be starting with the firm soon or for those who consider a high salary to be a determining factor when applying to firms.

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  • My heart bleeds for them. I'm 7 years qualified, have always worked in the City, and have never earned that much.

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  • i agree, i would take 85 grand if someone offered it to me and fair play if you earn that. plenty of sour grapes here.

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  • I don't think playftseforme can possibly have a proper job as he seems to spend all his time on the Lawyer website commenting on articles.

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  • playftseforme is simply stating the obvious: the brightest and the best who choose to work in the City will earn the most because employers want them.

    What's so wrong with that?

    You can be the brightest and the best, and choose not to work in the City, and that's fine too.

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  • playftseforme - your arrogance is disgraceful - you should be ashamed of yourself - if you are lucky enough to make it at any private practice firm to get to a position where you earn a significant salary you should be grateful - I have and I am very grateful despite having worked extremely hard to get to where I am - very very few of us have made it without significant assistance from coming from a blessed background and all the advantages that brings - that doesn't mean they should apologise for that far from it but they should have humility and respect - you sir\madam need to learn that fast - what goes around in this world comes around believe me. Now as your Boss suggests run along now and do some work otherwise you may lose your privileged income and I doubt you could cope with that.

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  • What Liz said. Anon 4.57pm are you for real? Grow up you pompous oaf!

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  • Dave 5.49pm - touched a nerve did I - ha ha - shame on you too - learn some humility you purile oaf ! The sad thing is if recent trainee intakes reflect the brightest and the best we are in a real mess - to me they appear (for the most part) to be a generation who believe it to be their birth right to be earning these sorts of numbers - that is so very sad and so very arrogant and none are worth 85K on qualification - they are just in the right place at the right time. What goes around comes around and may the downsizing of our profession over the next few years be a lesson to many.

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  • I can believe how many lawyers actually believe the free market works to this extent. Even paid up members of the Adam Smith Institute wouldn't go this far. Never mind the de facto crap (disadvantaged background etc) which is more for the sociologists look at EU law and all formal de jure crap that gets in the way of the free market. If you want a free market lets out source all the work to South Africa. Oh wait....

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  • Lest we forget that the article is actually discussing a pay cut. The reactions above better fit news of a pay RAISE. Weil's NQ salary was put at 90k a couple of years ago and the prevailing reaction then was 'fair play, it's their risk', whereas now the NQs are being charged with being toffish, old schoolboys with no brains?! Paying 85k to NQs is a business choice the Weil partners have chosen, which affects their own bottom line. Everyone knows the salary reflects the value of the NQ PLUS the premium required to hold onto the best associates and to recruit effectively in the market. Of course, they've got to be careful of the types of characters they recruit. The posts above are a depressing reminder of how money can warp people's minds and sour their judgement. Please raise the bar.

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  • Whatever you think of his attitude, playftseforme is right - these lawyers are paid what they are paid because of the legal market - the higher the demand and the lower the supply, the higher their salary. It's not institutional snobbery, it's basic economics, and if you criticise legal or banking salaries, you might as well criticise football ones too. You certainly wouldn't be complaining if you earned the same money, but as you don't it suits you to rail against such 'injustice' and to console yourself by imagining that they're all stuck-up and privileged. Some are, some aren't. Grow up.

    As for me - I was born in East London (Lewisham), went to state schools and a grammar school, worked my way into Oxbridge and am about to start at a MC firm. Some people there are clearly extremely privileged, but they are in the minority.

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  • "Those who work for Weil are highly educated" - and as an A&E Registrar I'm not well educated? Many years experience, peoples lives on the line, all for 54,000 - just tells you what society really values.

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  • This is a total nonstory but as usual you get holier than thou assocaites posting anonymously as bleedin heart liberals in favour of nurses and firemen while being quite happy to take the money and run. They are the most sickening two faced individuals of all.

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  • I have met lots of associates with glittering CVs, Oxbridge degrees and the rest, who are making £85,000 or more as NQs. To say that they are there just because daddy was a judge is laughable. If anything it shows how unintelligent their detractors are. Even if daddy was a judge, he doesn't sit finals for you or take your place in job interviews. No one would deny that life is not a level playing field and that some people have a head start on others but to draw the conclusion that Weil NQs are silver-spooned and sheltered cretins who have bluffed there way to the top is not just incorrect, it's transparently envious. I am a US firm NQ (not Weil) and I can honestly say I do not recognise the polo playing stereotype portrayed above among the people I know at work.

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  • Dear partner in the know

    If it were me and I knew that playftseforme was who you said he/she is I think that they might be having a one to one today and being asked (in as bleeding heart a manner as possible of course) to shape up or eff off. I have never read such tw**y drivel from a complete little prick who's been in the City for about 2 seconds. I think you should do us all a favour and cut their internet link.

    I wouldn't want the little pipsqueak anywhere near me as a client. Did his mother (sorry but it's almost certainly a he) tell him he was wonderful his whole life or what? What an ahole.

    Thanks

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  • W & G is in decline, and that's why it's cutting salaries. Half of its offices are in the US - only a fifth are in Asia. Wrong way to look at the world guys.

    PS David Hill MD - I don't think many people make 54,000. Even lawyers.

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  • If the world were fair the nurses etc would be paid these wages as the work they do is far more important than the NQ's in city law firms (all of them).

    I am not a lawyer but do work in the city and my city salary has enabled me to finance my wifes studies and ongoing career as a nurse. She could do anything she wants but chose to dedicate herself to nursing for sick children and I am in awe of what she does and am more than happy that my salary ensures we can still live relatively comfortably.

    The system will not change and she does not moan about the pay position but the comments on here really do stick in my throat. City NQ's, lawyers and city law firms do very little to warrant the mega salaries it is another parasitic industry that has lost its moral compass. A little humility goes a long way and is something that certainly sways me when providing instructions to firms.

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