Newly-qualified solicitors (NQs) at Shearman & Sterling are set to miss out on an extra £20,000 in salary when the firm merges with Allen & Overy next month.

A decision has been made to align NQ salaries with A&O, where NQs are currently on £125,000. NQs at Shearman are currently on £145,000.

Not only will NQ salaries align with A&O, but so will the trainee salaries. Trainees at A&O currently receive £50,000 in their first year and £55,000 in their second year. This totals a drop of £5,000 per year for the current Shearman cohort. 

It is understood that this change in pay won’t come into effect until September this year, with performance-related bonuses expected to top up the base salaries. 

A&O Shearman said in a statement: “In light of our merger to create A&O Shearman, we will be aligning our trainees and newly-qualified compensation models from September 2024. Attracting and retaining the best talent at all levels will be a priority for A&O Shearman. Trainees and NQs are a key part of the firm’s future, and we are determined to develop their talents and help them realise their full potential at A&O Shearman, and to reward them competitively while doing so.”

A&O and Shearman historic NQ salaries

A&O’s NQ pay made the jump from £107,500 to £125,000 last year, to align with the rates offered by Linklaters, Clifford Chance and Freshfields. Clifford Chance and Freshfields initially increased their rates in May 2022, though Linklaters and Allen & Overy decided against it after a series of hikes. 

Earlier this week, the two firms announced the first promotions round for A&O Shearman, with 40 lawyers making the grade. A&O has made up 32 partners, while Shearman has promoted eight.

The two firms are set to merge on 1 May 2024.