Mystery firms court high fliers with £400,000 salaries

MEDIUM-SIZED UK firms and US practices are using £400,000 salaries as bargaining chips to entice top-flight UK solicitors on board.

Legal recruitment advisers Taylor Root have placed advertisements in the legal press offering six-figure pay packets of up to £400,000 to lawyers specialising in sectors that include banking, private client, and telecomms.

Legal sources claim that the salaries at the higher end of this scale are on offer for capital markets and corporate and project finance solicitors, with the top-paid jobs basing lawyers in London to build up new practice areas. But some offers would involve solicitors moving to the US, Hong Kong and Singapore.

City lawyers were stunned last year when a New York firm offered a salary of up £450,000 for a UK solicitor. At the time another practice was preparing to pay £400,000.

But Taylor Root partner Nick Root says it will be extremely difficult to recruit top people because the right lawyers for the jobs would already be working as highly-paid partners in top City firms.

“The people they want will be in their late 30s or their 40s and they will be earning £300,000 plus already,” says Root. “Not only will they have to be names in the market, but they will also have to bring business with them.”