Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has raised its newly-qualified (NQ) solicitor salary to £100,000, the first magic circle firm to do so.
It is an 18 per cent increase on the £85,000 Freshfields previously paid NQs. The firm set that rate in 2016. Trainee salaries remain unchanged however, at £45,000 for first-years and £51,000 for second-years.
The move is a reflection of the recruiting power of the American firms in London, many of which already lure graduates with NQ pay packets well in excess of £100,000. The other magic circle firms will almost certainly follow suit.
The now-collapsed American firm Bingham McCutchen became the first firm to pay NQs £100,000 in London back in 2010.
The current top of the market is in the region of £145,000 (tied to fluctuations in the US dollar), paid out by a number of American firms.
The pay rises took effect on 1 May.
The top of the market in London: a history
|Top-paying firm||Top-paying firm’s NQ salary||NQ salary at Freshfields|
|1998||White & Case||£45,000||£30,000|
|2007||Latham & Watkins||£88,000||£55,000|
|2008||Latham & Watkins||£96,000||£65,000|
|2016||Milbank & ors||£124,000||£67,500|
|2018||Akin Gump & ors||£143,000||£85,000|