Slaughters slashes trainee bonuses and freezes associate salaries

Slaughter and May has cut the size of the bonus it pays to trainees as part of a salary review that sees associate pay rates frozen.

Graham White
Graham White

Qualified lawyers will continue to receive the same 8 per cent bonus that they took home last year. The firm has cut bonuses for second-year trainees to 6 percent and first-year trainees to 4 per cent. Trainees in both years were paid an 8 per cent bonus last year. Other staff with receive a 3 per cent bonus.

The firm indicated the measure was a response to “very uncertain business conditions”.

Associates will move to the next rung in the salary ladder, a step that takes place every six months at the City firm, with rates for each step held constant on the May 2011 levels. The firm reviews salaries in May and November and reviews bonuses in October.

Associates with one year’s post-qualification experience (PQE) will receive £69,000, while those with two years’ PQE will receive £76,000. Lawyers with three years’ PQE will take home £86,000.

Newly qualified lawyers’ salaries will go up from £61,000 to £61,500, with trainees’ salaries remaining the same at £38,000 for first-years and £43,000 for second-years.

Executive partner Graham White said in a statement: “We’re unlike most of our competitor law firms in moving our associates up the scales every six months rather than annually.

“We favour this ’flat rate’ [bonus] approach to reflect the commitment and contribution made by everyone during the year. We’ve continued to be successful in attracting high quality work but the last four months have seen the emergence of very uncertain business conditions.”