Landwell ups newly-qualified pay in aggressive hiring spree

Landwell, PricewaterhouseCoopers’ tied law firm, is raising its salaries for assistants to keep in line with the magic circle.

The firm, which has a turnover of only £14m, is hiking up rates for newly qualified solicitors from £35,000 to the rate also paid by Clifford Chance and Allen & Overy – £42,000.

Managing partner Chris Arnheim says the firm decided not to go above the magic circle after striking a balance between recruitment demands and the need to maintain profit levels.

He says: “It’s a very difficult balance between paying people what you think it’s going to take to get them and what you can afford. It’s important for credibility that we will match magic circle rates because that’s where we hope to get our lawyers from.”

The firm is in the midst of an aggressive recruitment drive after losing two of its top partners when they left to set up an associated law firm for Big Five accountancy rival Ernst & Young.

Managing partner Christopher Tite and highly regarded head of IT and telecoms Mark Lewis lured a total of 29 staff with them to the competitor, leaving Landwell with 11 partners and 78 other fee earners.

Last month, The Lawyer revealed that rival KLegal, the law firm associated with accountancy giant KPMG, has invested more than £6m on fee earner remuneration alone, to recruit in London. Its managing partner Nick Holt, who joined from USfirm Weil Gotshal &Manges, is thought to be earning around £600,000 (The Lawyer, 12 June).