Linklaters has cut associate pay bands by an average of seven per cent and slashed bonuses across the firm.

In contrast to other top City firms, Linklaters associates will move up through the salary bands this year but reduced rates mean that most junior lawyers will receive a pay rise of just two to four per cent. 

Clifford Chance, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Herbert Smith and Slaughter and May have all frozen wages at current levels until the end of the 2010 financial year.

The Linklaters announcement means that first year trainees will continue to receive £37,400.

However newly-qualified rates fell 7.6 per cent to £61,500; one year PQE rates dropped 3.4 per cent to £68,000; two year PQE salaries fell 11.6 per cent £73,000; and three year PQEs will receive £85,000, down 6.4 per cent on the previous year.

Linklaters director of HR Jill King said: “We will progress people through the normal career structure. We have identified those pay bands as proportionate to the current climate.”

Unlike the firm’s junior lawyers, support staff at the firm will not receive a pay rise this year with rates frozen at current levels.

The firmwide bonus, paid to all staff from the year’s profits, will be paid this year but was reduced from £2,700 to £1,500.

The performance bonus, paid to staff based on individual performance, will also be paid but the size of the bonus pool is smaller than last year.

King would not comment on how much less the firm had put aside for the performance bonus.