Suffering the fools gladly

US firm Bankes & Weischler has smashed the £100,000 pay barrier for its City newly qualified solicitors (NQs), reported last Tuesday (1 April). Not entirely truthfully.

Yes, we couldn’t resist some April foolishness, and decided to set the cat among the London pigeons with a spoof story about a private equity law firm paying a market-leading £103,500 to NQs.

Chairman and name partner of the fictional firm, Robin D Bankes (geddit?), shrugged off concerns about a global economic slump, saying: “If you want to hire the best, you have to pay the best. Recruitment is a long-term game and I believe it’s crucial that we don’t put partner profit ahead of future prosperity.”

The first poster on the story, who withheld their name, wrote that “a salary war in a recession sounds ridiculous” at 11.49, followed just minutes later by another anonymous poster pondering whether we will “see the top UK firms raise their salaries in the coming year or two? Or play it cool?”.

But by lunchtime posters were already getting wise. “Bankes are a top firm and it’s nice to see them make a splash in London,” wrote another anonymous poster, joining in the fun at 13.23. “I’ve known Robin for many years, ever since he was a trainee at another fictional American firm, Dewey Cheatem and Howe.” (Think about it.) “Bankes are notable for having recently promoted a female partner in corporate, Amanda Hugankiss, unlike a lot of UK firms this year.”

And so it continued.