Weil Gotshal & Manges has made a bold play to reposition itself in the recruitment market by offering newly qualified lawyers an astonishing £90,000 annual salary.
London associates now earn more than their counterparts in New York after a 20 per cent pay hike in London, although US associates get a guaranteed bonus starting at £15,000, while the UK has a merit-based and discretionary system.
Weil UK managing partner Mike Francies told The Lawyer: "The feeling was that it was well deserved and it's brought us back to being very competitive in terms of the salary we offer. We'd looked at where we are in the US and in London and felt very comfortable with offering £90,000 rather than beyond £96,000."
This puts Weil towards the top of the market in terms of US firms in London. Latham & Watkins still offers newly-qualifieds the most, with £96,000, while Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton offers £92,000.
The firm is hoping the salaries will entice associates as it kicks off a massive UK recruitment campaign. The new London payscale increases in bands every half-year, with second-years taking home £102,300 and third-years earning £114,600. Senior associates are in line to take home £168,500 before bonus.