Clifford Chance ups associate pay, holds trainee and NQ bands steady

Clifford Chance has slightly increased pay bands for associates with one, two and three years’ post-qualification experience (PQE) as the firm announces a freeze on trainee and newly qualified (NQ) salary levels.

David Bickerton
David Bickerton

Trainees and associates will continue to move through the pay ranks as normal, with the first-year and second-year trainee salaries static at £38,000 and £43,000 respectively.

NQ salaries are also unchanged, with the figure standing at £61,500, rising to a maximum of £73,800 when the unchanged maximum bonus of £12,300 is factored in.

One-year PQEs will take home £69,000 as a basic salary, representing an increase of just under 1 per cent on last year’s figure of £68,500. The salary increases to £89,700 if the associate earns the maximum bonus of £20,700, slightly up on last year’s maximum bonus of £20,550.

Two-year PQE pay levels are also up, rising by just under 2 per cent from £75,000 to £76,300. This becomes £99,190 including the hiked maximum bonus of £22,890, which stood at 22,500 last year.

Three-year PQE salaries, meanwhile, have risen by just under 2 per cent from £85,500 to £87,000, while the increased maximum bonus – up from £25,650 to £26,100 – means the total earnings can jump to £113,100.

Clifford Chance London managing partner David Bickerton said in a statement: “Perhaps surprisingly given the uncertain economic environment, the London office has had a good year and our practice has grown.

“We’ve been involved in many of the most interesting cases and transactions this year and, again, have been more highly ranked than any other firm.

“These salary increases and bonus awards reflect our gratitude for the contribution and effort made by our lawyers. We expect them to work very hard, and they do.”

Last year Clifford Chance also froze salaries for trainees and NQs but announced pay hikes for one-, two- and three-year PQEs (7 June 2011).

This year’s increases mirror Linklaters’ largely similar decision earlier this month, although Linklaters also increased its first-seat trainee salary (4 May 2012).