Slaughters freezes salaries at 2008-09 levels

Slaughter and May has frozen staff salaries at this year’s levels, following similar moves by Clifford Chance and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.

Graham White

Graham White

The firm said wages for the 2009-10 financial year would stay at current levels for all employees because of “the difficult and uncertain” economic climate.

Effectively this represents a pay cut for associates as they will not progress to the next pay band despite gaining a year of post qualification experience.

Executive partner Graham White also said that Slaughters had avoided making redundancies so far, but did not rule out cutting jobs in future.

He said: “The firm’s activity levels have held up well in the current economic climate and the team here’s working very hard.  Nevertheless, we do need to take into account the uncertain outlook for the economy and the pressures being experienced by many of our clients.”

Trainee solicitor pay has remained the same at £38,000 and £43,000 for first and second years respectively. Meanwhile, though trainees who qualified in last month (March) will earn £66,000 the rate for those who are due to qualify in September is yet to be determined.

On Tuesday, Clifford Chance also announced that it is reversing salary bands for its junior lawyers, effectively freezing wages at current levels until 2010 (31 March).

In February, Freshfields became the first major firm to unveil a pay freeze (9 February).

Slaughters said in its announcement that it would not be deferring start dates for its future trainees.

White added: “We’re confident that, by controlling our costs effectively in this way, we’ll be in the best possible position to weather the economic situation.”

Slaughters has two salary reviews per year the last being in November 2008.