Herbies is latest firm to freeze associate pay bands

Herbert Smith has followed Allen & Overy and Linklaters’ lead by freezing salary bands for its associates.

The firm confirmed today that it would not be raising the pay scales, but will allow associates to progress through the existing bands.

Pay at the firm will therefore remain at £38,000 for first-year trainees, £61,000 for newly qualified (NQ) solicitors and £68,000, £73,000 and £85,000 for those with one, two and three years’ post-qualification experience (PQE) respectively.

The move follows more drastic action in 2009 when Herbert Smith froze salaries for individual associates and effectively reversed salary bands, meaning associates rising from one band to the next remained on the same salary (20 April 2009).

Last year the firm increased salaries marginally for NQs, from £60,000 up to £61,000, while associates with one or two years’ PQE remained static at £68,000 and £73,000 respectively. The salary band for three years’ PQE rose by £2,000 up to £85,000.

A Herbert Smith spokesman said: “When setting salaries we consider factors such as the broader economic climate, firm performance and market trends.

“While salary bands for associates up to 4.5 years’ PQE won’t increase, associates will nevertheless benefit from pay rises by rolling through the qualification bands. Associates with a PQE of five years and above will increase according to performance and chargeable hours.”