US firm Dechert has bucked the wider market trend to increase its newly qualified (NQ) solicitors’ salary in London.
Previously the base wage for an NQ in London was £116,000, but this has now been increased by £4,000 to £120,000.
Despite the increase, the pay rise is some way off rival US firms in the City. Ropes & Gray, Latham & Watkins and Weil Gotshall & Manges all pay out £130,000 to NQ lawyers, while Akin Gump and Kirkland & Ellis pay £150,000 in London.
However, Dechert’s NQ wage is still much higher than most UK firms. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer is the only UK firm to pay £100,000 – after it increased it in 2019. Earlier this year, Allen & Overy was the first firm to drop NQ salaries from a minimum of £100,000 to £90,000.
Clifford Chance followed, backtracking on the £100,000 package that was offered by the biggest City outfits last year. The firm cut its offering by 5 and a half per cent to £94,500. It had, in 2019, raised its salary for newly qualified solicitors from £91,000 to £100,000, following the lead of Freshfields in a trend that saw other big players doing the same.
Linklaters tightened the belt in August, dropping its base compensation from £100,000 to £90,000. Clyde & Co, Baker McKenzie, Norton Rose Fulbright, BCLP, Osborne Clarke and Hogan Lovells also cut NQ pay in the summer.
Dechert’s chief talent and human resources officer, Alison Bernard, said: “As a trainee solicitor you will work as part of a global team to deliver excellent service and innovative thinking. We understand the importance of a strong and supportive culture. We believe that building community drives our success and creates an environment where people are respected, valued and empowered to do their best.”