Newly-qualified (NQ) solicitors at Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom have been handed a £15,000 pay rise.

They will now take home £133,000 a year, up from £118,000, as the firm attempts to keep pace with the top of the market.

The trainee salary has also been raised significantly. First-year pay is up from £45,000 to £50,000 and second-year pay rises from £50,000 to £55,000.

This brings it up to the level of Kirkland & Ellis and Milbank, though not Davis Polk & Wardwell, which pays a market-topping £60,000 to second-year trainees.

A handful of US firms, including Kirkland, Akin Gump and Debevoise & Plimpton, currently pay NQs more than anyone else, at around £143,000.

After a long period without much movement, a pay war was sparked three summers ago after Cravath raised its New York starting salaries to $180,000.

Before that, the top of the New York market had previously been $160,000, a figure that had not increased since before the 2008 financial crisis. The move set of a chain reaction of firms matching Cravath, which spread to the London market.

In May, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer raised its NQ salary to £100,000, the first magic circle firm to do so.