CC boosts associate salaries by 15 per cent

Clifford Chance has today announced that it has increased its London lawyers’ salaries by around 15 per cent.

Clifford Chance head of HR expertise Mark Spivey told The Lawyer: “We always keep a watch on the market and when we talk to existing lawyers at the firm and future lawyers, salary, bonus and career development within the firm are clearly at the forefront of their minds.”

Therefore, with effect from 1 May, a Clifford Chance associate with one year’s PQE will take home a salary of £66,000, an increase of £6,000 from the current salary. They will have a potential maximum package of £79,200 including bonus.

A Clifford Chance lawyer with three-and-a-half years’ PQE will see his or her salary increase from £81,000 to £89,000.

Clifford Chance’s bonus system kicks in at six months’ PQE and increases with PQE seniority. From May, between six months’ and one year’s PQE, the maximum bonus will be 20 per cent of base salary, which increases to a maximum of 30 per cent between one-and-a-half and three-and-a-half years’ PQE.

However, from 2008 the maximum attainable bonus of 40 per cent of base salary will only be available to lawyers with at least four years’ PQE. Currently, this maximum bonus can kick in at three-and-a-half years’ PQE.

Spivey said that the Clifford Chance bonus, which kicks in at 1,700 billable hours, is made up of three elements, namely an individual’s billable contribution, their ‘investment hours’, which include non-billable contributions such as helping to develop training and recruitment, and an individual’s ‘quality’ element, which refers to their ‘lawyerly skills’.

Spivey said: “The firm starts paying out the billable element of the bonus at 95 per cent of the 1,700 hours.”

Last October, Allen & Overy announced a hike in pay of 15 per cent across the board for both its London associates and trainees from the beginning of November, with associate pay being linked to the value of a partner profit point.