Slaughters freezes associate pay bands at 2011-12 levels

Slaughter and May has kept the majority of its associate pay bands steady at last year’s levels, with the magic circle firm announcing a slight increase in the pay taken home by associates with two years’ post-qualification experience (PQE).

Graham White
Graham White

Two-year PQEs will earn £76,500 annually from tomorrow (1 May), an increase of under 1 per cent on the £76,000 it paid to lawyers at this level in 2011-12.

All other bands are frozen, with newly qualified associates (NQs) earning £61,500, one-year PQEs £69,000, two-year PQEs £76,500 and three-year PQEs £86,000. Trainees will continue to receive £38,000 in their first year and £43,000 in their second year.

Associates and trainees nevertheless receive a pay rise tomorrow because they move up to the next band.

It is the second salary review in a row that has seen a freeze of all or most of its associate pay levels, with the City firm – which previously reviewed salaries twice a year – keeping all associate bands static in its November 2011 review (31 October 2011). The previous review in May 2011 saw salaries rise by an average of 2 per cent (5 May 2011).

However, the firm has now moved to scrap this system, shifting to an annual pay review in line with the rest of the market, meaning associates will move up a rung of the pay ladder once instead of twice a year. Bonuses will continue to be reviewed each October, even though the autumn salary review is being axed.

Executive partner Graham White said in a statement: “We believe that we remain in the right position relative to the rest of the market. That change [to an annual salary review] is to bring us in line with the general market practice of annual salaries for associates and is not driven by economic conditions.”

Slaughters’ announcement follows news that Allen & Overy has removed its associate pay freeze, awarding rises to NQs and one-, two- and three-year PQEs (18 April 2012).

Herbert Smith this morning announced that it has put 51 London associates in redundancy consultation, with 23 of those based in the corporate department (30 April 2012).