Clifford Chance, Lovells and Slaughter and May have all frozen salaries, with all staff remaining on current wages until the end of the 2009-10 financial year.
The move effectively reduces salary band rates, with associates taking home the same pay despite gaining a year of post-qualification experience (PQE). Slaughter and May trainees will continue to receive a pay rise in the second year of their contracts.
The firm said it would not be deferring start dates for future intakes of trainees. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer kicked off the round of pay freezes in February by reversing salary bands for all associates.