Clifford Chance hikes trainee and associate pay as NQs earn up to £76.2k

Clifford Chance has increased all of its trainee and associate pay rates in the annual review of its salaries bands, raising newly-qualified (NQ) lawyers’ remuneration to £63,500.

The NQ pay rate is up from £61,500 and rises to up to £76,200 with the maximum bonus.

The salary level for associates with one year’s post-qualification experience (PQE) is increased from £69,000 to £69,500, or a maximum of £90,350 with the top bonus.

The two-year PQE rate has gone up from £76,300 to £78,200, with a potential top earning figure of £101,660 including the full bonus.

Three-year PQEs will receive £87,800, up from £87,000, or a maximum of £114,140 including the full bonus.

Bonus rates are unchanged at around 20-30 per cent as a maximum for junior associates and up to 40 per cent for senior associates.

Trainees salaries are up from £38,000 to £39,000 for first years and from £43,000 to £44,000 for second years.

Meanwhile, Clifford Chance has confirmed its maintenance grant levels, with these rising from £4,900 to £7,000 for the legal practice course, from £5,000 to £7,000 for the graduate diploma in law (GDL) and from £6,000 to an increased level of £8,000 for GDL courses in London.

All new levels are effective from 1 May.

Last year the Canary Wharf firm increased associate pay marginally but froze trainee rates, with NQs earning up to £73,800 including the maximum bonus (31 May 2012).

London managing partner David Bickerton said in a statement: “These salary increases and bonus awards reflect our recognition of the contribution made by our lawyers who consistently deliver the highest quality advice to meet clients’ exacting demands.

“It’s important to invest in our future trainees and we hope that by providing enhanced maintenance support, those individuals will be able to focus fully on their studies and develop the skills to become the outstanding lawyers that we require for our business. This is part of our overall commitment to breaking down any perceived barriers to entering our profession.”

Clifford Chance is the last magic circle firm to confirm its 2013/14 salaries bands, with rivals announcing a mixture of increases and freezing of pay rates.

Magic circle associate salaries in full:

Firm NQ 1 PQE 2 PQE 3 PQE
Allen & Overy £61,500 £68,500 £74,500 £86,000
Clifford Chance £63,500 £69,500 £78,200 £87,800
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer* £65,000-£72,500 £80,000-£92,500 £100,000-£107,500 £115,000
Linklaters £64,000 £69,500 £78,250 £89,000
Slaughter and May £63,000 £69,500 £78,000 £87,500
*bands are career milestones based on merit rather than tenure        

Magic circle trainee salaries in full:

Firm Year 1 Year 2
Allen & Overy £38,000 £43,200
Clifford Chance £39,000 £44,000
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer £39,000 £44,000
Linklaters £39,500 n/a
Slaughter and May £39,000 £44,000