City firms will no doubt adopt a cynical stance over US practice White & Case's bold move in the salary stakes. They will accuse it of having to resort to money to boost recruitment. And they will throw in a few questions about the staying power of US firms and how successful they can really be in the London marketplace.
Yet the recruitment climate is rapidly changing for US firms that decide to come to England. Weil Gotshal & Manges, for one, has managed to fire a few interesting shots as it bundles together a selection of lawyers from top City firms. The fact that these US firms are determined to become English will carry as much weight for potential recruits as high salaries. But it would be foolish to dismiss the attraction of salaries – if nothing else, they help firms get noticed.
If White & Case and other US firms display a commitment to the marketplace and to making up partners in London, they may prove interesting to dissatisfied assistants in the City. The one question these lawyers will not be asking, however, is whether they are actually worth £45,000.