London salaries upturn

WEST End and City law firms have reported significant increases in their wage awards in a new legal salary survey.

Forty per cent of London firms approached in the 1995 Michael Page Legal survey said they awarded staff wage rises of between six and ten per cent last year. In 1993 16 per cent handed out similar rises.

The survey, based on responses to 500 questionnaires sent to firms countrywide, is cited by the recruitment company as evidence of the industry climbing out of recession.

But regional firms appear to be lagging behind their London counterparts with 15 per cent still operating pay freezes and just 15 per cent awarding rises over five per cent.

However, regional lawyers are more likely to win bonuses than those in London, where fewer firms operate schemes.

Newly qualified City solicitors expect to earn an average u26,000, while regional salaries for comparable solicitors are unlikely to be over u20,000.

Michael Page Legal consultant Peter Thompson says: “I am confident we will see a steady growth in salaries, but we won't see anything like a return to the salary levels of the 1980s. During the recession biennial salary reviews were phased out, I don't think we will see a return to them.”