Clifford Chance increases associate pay bands by 3 per cent

Clifford Chance is the latest magic firm to unfreeze associate salaries, with the firm raising rates for assistants as well as allowing them to progress through the lockstep.

Having kept salaries for 2009-10 at the same rate as the previous year, Clifford Chance has increased this year’s rates by an average of 3 per cent for associates and trainees from 1 May.

A newly qualified solicitor at Clifford Chance will now earn £61,500, up from £59,000 last year. An associate with one year’s post qualification experience (PQE) will take home £68,000 as opposed to £66,600 last time round.

The salary for a two-year PQE has gone from £68,700 to £72,250, while the three-year rate will be £84,500, up from £82,200.

The firm also revealed small pay increases for trainees, with first years earning £38,000 and second years £43,000.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has already announced that it will unfreeze salaries, although the firm did not raise its pay bands, allowing lawyers to progress through the lockstep instead (25 February 2010).

Linklaters, which did not stop associates progressing through the pay bands last year but instead reduced its salaries at every level, also kept its scale the same as in 2009-10 (31 March 2010).

Clifford Chance London managing partner David Bickerton said: “These salary increases demonstrate our confidence in our London business and the value we put on the contribution of all our lawyers.

“I believe that our total reward package, combining the salary band increases, the effect of progression through the PQE scale, and the significant bonus potential, will ensure we continue to attract and retain the best lawyers in the market.”