Legal Business Blogs

A&O pips Links to the post in Magic Circle NQ pay hikes

Allen & Overy (A&O) has become the latest Magic Circle firm to hike its salary for newly-qualified solicitors (NQs) to £100,000, narrowly beating a similar commitment from final holdout Linklaters.

The move will see NQs take home a minimum of £100,000, including bonus, marking a 20% uptick on the £83,000 salary set by A&O less than a year ago.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer last month became the first of the Magic Circle firms to tackle head-on the increased competitive pressure from US counterparts, raising its NQ salary by £15,000 to £100,000 plus discretionary bonus.

Clifford Chance (CC) followed suit a month later with £100,000 including bonus, a package matched by Slaughter and May the following week.

An A&O spokesperson said of the salary increase: ‘We have always been committed to rewarding our people fairly and competitively. This year, to maintain this position, newly qualified lawyers will receive a minimum total cash of £100,000, comprised of salary and a sign-on bonus.’

An announcement from Linklaters will now be imminent in order to keep pace with City peers and US rivals. The firm last October announced the second increase in its trainee and newly qualified (NQ) salaries, with the latter taking home £83,000 in basic pay.

The Magic Circle firms have this year upped their promotion efforts with A&O, CC, Freshfields, Linklaters and Slaughters collectively making up 120 partners in 2019, a significant 35% increase.

This year, the group also made up noticeably more women lawyers, after an embarrassing 2018 for many.