Freshfields leads in elite firms’ salary wars

Slaughter and May has fallen behind the pack in the associate pay stakes. The firm, which once led on UK firms’ remuneration, now trails behind Allen & Overy (A&O) and Clifford Chance, offering its junior lawyers the lowest pay deal in the magic circle (see full story here).

However Slaughters has started on the bonus trail already in a bid to make it up to its associates.

Not so long ago, Linklaters was in a three-horse race with A&O and Clifford Chance. Within the last couple of years the tide seems to have turned however. Linklaters has raised salaries at small increments since 2012 but has failed to keep pace with the leaps and bounds of A&O and Clifford Chance.

Meanwhile Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has stormed ahead. The firm, which aside from a recession-induced salary reduction has always kept up with its rivals, has now left them for dust, following the introduction of its career milestone (CM) system.

Even when taking the median point of a CM bracket, it’s clear that the average Freshfields lawyer is likely to receive much higher remuneration than its rivals. Although, in a non-lockstep world, their speedy progression up the ranks is far from guaranteed.

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