Shearman & Sterling has raised its base salary for newly-qualified (NQ) solicitors by 14 per cent, from £105,000 to £120,000.

Meanwhile, the US firm has increased the starting salary for mid-level (3.5PQE) associates by 7 per cent, from £138,000 to £148,000 while senior associates (those of 6.5PQE), get a 6 per cent bump from £165,000 to 175,000.

The starting trainee salary remains the same at £45,000. The changes took effect on 1 May.

The firm last increased pay scales for its associates in 2017.

Matthew Readings, the head of the London Office, said: “We are pleased to be able to offer our associates an increased pay-scale across the board. This is part of our ongoing commitment as a firm to being an employer of choice and attracting and retaining the best talent.”

Earlier this month, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer raised its newly-qualified solicitor salary to £100,000, the first magic circle firm to do so. Shearman’s move demonstrates how difficult it is for the leading UK firms to keep pace with American firms in the lawyer salary wars. Shearman is not even at the top of the market; the likes of Kirkland & Ellis pay NQs far more. This move puts Shearman on a par with the likes of Ropes & Gray, which raised NQ pay to £120,000 in February.