Dechert rejigs UK pay to keep up in salary war

Dechert rejigs UK pay to keep up in salary war” />Dechert has overhauled its UK salary structure in a bid to compete with its US rivals, at the same time as a raft of US firms bump up their salaries further.

London managing partner Steven Fogel said Dechert had introduced a new flexible salary structure from 1 July in a bid to take into account disparities between magic circle and mid-Atlantic rates.

As a result, minimum salaries within each associate band have been brought into line with the magic circle, while maximum salaries will match mid-Atlantic rates.

The change means newly qualified (NQ) salaries will start at £56,000 a year (up from £50,000) and top £66,000. NQs in the financial services group will be paid at the top of the band.

Dechert’s London salaries previously reflected the rates paid by the top 30 UK firms, with the exception of the financial services group, which has traditionally been paid 10-15 per cent above the magic circle.

The change comes as a number of US firms increase their associate salaries. As first reported on www.thelawyer. com (5 July), LeBoeuf Lamb Greene & MacRae has raised its NQ salaries to £75,000, matching Weil Gotshal & Manges‘ increase announced last month.

LeBoeuf has also increased trainee salaries from £33,000 and £37,000 for first and second years to £36,000 and £39,000 respectively. The mid-point of the firm’s two year-PQE salary band also becomes £87,500, compared with the £86,500 offered by Weil.

Dechert will also increase trainee salaries from the autumn intake. First year trainees will be paid £32,000, up from £28,000, and second years £37,000, up from £32,000. Both will increase again in 2007 to £35,000 and £40,000 respectively.

The salary rises also follow a wave of increases by several US firms in London earlier in the year. Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, for example, increased its NQ salaries for UK lawyers to £85,000 – one of the highest in the City.