Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer will not be reviewing its associate and trainee pay levels this year after significant hikes in 2016.
The magic circle firm has decided to freeze 2017/18 pay bands, which were reviewed in May last year.
In a statement, London managing partner Julian Long said: “After the major revamp and increases in 2016, we have continued to review our competitive position, which, in terms of total compensation, remains strong in the market.
“We will continue to review and update, taking account of the market, in order to make sure our approach properly rewards our people for the work they do and the high standards they consistently achieve.”
The move follows a significant increase in newly-qualified and trainee pay last year. Freshfields boosted NQ salaries by almost 26 per cent to £85,000 for 2016/17.
The increase came after a static year for NQ pay at the magic circle firm in 2015, when starting pay sat at £67,500.
Freshfields also put up trainee salaries, which came into effect from 1 May 2016. First year trainees were told they would receive £43,000, up almost 5 per cent. Second year trainees were to be paid £48,000, up 4.3 per cent.
In its most recent retention results, Freshfields revealed a dip in performance keeping on just 27 of its 41 qualifiers this September, equivalent to 66 per cent. Retention of under 70 per cent is unusual among magic circle firms. It is only the second time in the last eight years it has happened, the first being Clifford Chance’s 67 per cent retention earlier this year.
Freshfields announced relatively static financial results for 2016/17 in which net profit fell nearly 1 per cent from £617m to £612m. Revenue grew by just £3m (0.3 per cent) during the last financial year, totalling £1.33bn.
If the firm’s results from 2015/16 were retranslated using current exchange rates, its revenue would have dropped by 5 per cent from £1.4bn, while net profit would have dropped by 7 per cent from £658.9m. PEP would have dropped by 4 per cent from £1.57m.