Davis Polk joins NQ £100k club with London trainee programme

US firm Davis Polk is to break into the London trainee market with a scheme that will offer a newly qualified salary of £100,000.

Trainee lawyers will be offered a salary of £50,000 in the first year rising to £55,000 in the second. At £100,000 Davis Polk sits at the top of the NQ salary market in London, next to Bingham McCutchen and Latham & Watkins, which both offer the six-figure salary.

The two-week vacation scheme will run each summer and will pay candidates £500 per week.  

The office has been hunting for applicants at UK universities since the summer and has confirmed that its first cohort of six trainees is due to start in September 2014. By 2016 the firm plans to be recruiting between four and eight trainees a year.

A spokesperson said the decision to take on trainees was made soon after Davis Polk launched its English-law practice in January 2012 (6 January 2012), when it hired corporate partner Simon Witty from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

While the aim of the trainee programme is to grow the firm’s English-law capability organically, the office has made a number of lateral partner hires in its English law practice since taking on Witty. 

The most recent partner to join is Ashurst finance partner Nick Benham (12 November 2013), the fourth partner to leave Ashurst in the past month. Other partner hires include corporate partner Will Pearce from Herbert Smith Freehills (12 November 2012) and tax partner Jonathan Cooklin from Freshfields (13 April 2012).

Before launching in London Davis Polk relied on best-friends relationships with UK firms, in particular Slaughter and May, for English-law advice. Read more in Davis Polk analysis: Friends and relationships.