Midlands-based lawyers in line for 10 per cent pay rise as legal jobs increase

Lawyers in the Midlands will see a salary increase of around 10 per cent in 2015, thanks to a growing number of firms setting up offices in the region.

The figures released today (23 January) in the annual salary survey carried out by Robert Walters show the average salary of solicitors with five years post-qualified experience (PQE) could jump from £50,000 to £55,000.

Trainees and paralegals will also benefit thanks to increased local recruitment and training contracts offered specific to the region.

The news follows reported success from Midlands firms such as Shakespeares, which is set for further expansion after several years of growth (22 January 2015).

Latham & Watkins and Berwin Leighton Paisner have also been northshoring jobs to regional cities in the north of England, leading to economic growth and greater foot traffic in the area.

“The most striking trend this year has been the turnaround in candidate confidence, backed by an improving economy and optimism among employers,” said Robert Walters associate director of legal recruitment Sam Walters.

“In the last few years risk-averse lawyers have been conscious of making a move, due to the mentality of ‘last in, first out’,” said Walters. “A record number of IPOs, as well as the real estate and construction industries coming back, means more solicitors are making worthwhile moves between teams and firms.”

Industry research shows there has been around a 10 per cent rise in jobs and placements over the last 12 months.

Lawyers with between two and five years PQE are still the most highly sought after in the capital, as many firms continue to keep trainee intake numbers low following a period of economic stasis.

Allen & Overy decreased its trainee intake to just 85 per year in 2014 from pre-recession heights of 120 (15 August 2013), while Clifford Chance announced a decision to take 100 trainees this year, again down from 120 (4 December 2012).

In London, employees of mid-Atlantic US firms are the most likely to feel the benefits of a post-recession economy in 2015 with the average salary for associates with four years PQE will rising from £106,000 per annum to nearly £109,000.

A lawyer with comparative experience working for a West End firm will likely see no change in their salary in 2015, as the average pay remains at £63,000. At a City firm, a lawyer with four years’ experience is likely to see their salaries rise marginally at the bottom end of the salary range. Salaries this year range from £77,000 to £108,000, up from £75,000 to £108,000 last year.

A newly qualified solicitor (NQ) at a US firm can expect to earn an average of £80,000 in 2015 – a 2.5 per cent increase from an average £78,000 last year – while an NQ at a London firm will earn £45,000 on average, up less than two per cent on the previous year.

However there was no change at any salary level for lawyers working in New York firms, who can earn from £94,000 as a newly-qualified lawyer to over £170,000 as a partner. 

General counsels working in-house for IT, pharmaceutical, construction or energy companies will all experience a five per cent increase in pay this year.

Senior in-housers in the construction, energy, manufacturing or engineering industry will see a salary hike of £5,000 to at least £115,000, while general counsel in IT, telecoms, business services or pharmaceutical companies will also take home an extra £5,000 more this year, up to at least £110,000.

Going abroad, the offshore legal recruitment market remained stable in 2014. The Caribbean offered more roles for UK lawyers working offshore and hiring increased in the Channel Islands. The average salary for a partner in the Channel Islands remains at £200,000 entering 2015, while the average paypacket for a partner in the Caribbean was steady at $400,000 (£267,000).