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Christmas comes early for Slaughter and May associates with biggest bonuses yet

Magic Circle firm Slaughter and May has followed up steep rises in salary earlier this year with bumper bonuses as high-performing junior lawyers pocket over £15,000.

With City salaries rising this year as competition for talent heats up and more profitable US firms expand in London, Slaughter and May has lifted bonuses to between 9%-16% of salaries. Last year, associates seen as performing at a good or exceptional level pocketed bonuses ranging from 7.5% to 15% of their salaries. 

With salaries for junior associates already increased by up to 10% this year, the shift in the bonus range at Slaughter and May has led to substantial pay-outs. For newly qualified lawyers which earn £70,000 per year, the bonus equates to £6,300, up almost 30% from £4,900 the year before.

A spokesperson for Slaughter and May said: ‘Our associate bonus this year is again primarily linked to PQE and, to a limited extent, performance.’

He added: ‘We do not impose billing or time recording targets on our associates and our approach to bonus differentiation is to recognise performance and career progression, while ensuring that we reflect our team culture of valuing and recognising everyone’s contribution.’

The move comes as Slaughter and May, the most profitable UK-headquartered law firm, makes an aggressive push in pay to ensure it keeps attracting the best City talent. Earlier this year, Slaughter and May overtook Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer as the highest paying Magic Circle firm for newly qualified lawyers with salaries of £70,000.

All trainees and support staff will also receive a bonus of 4% this year, up on last year’s figure of 3%.