Legal Business Blogs

City talent tussle continues as CC matches Freshfields with £125k NQ salary

Clifford Chance’s (CC) next cohort of newly qualified associates will take home £125,000 per year, after the firm bumped its starting salary by 16% to match that of Magic Circle rival Freshfields.

It is the first pay rise at the firm since November 2021, when a 7.5% increase brought salaries up to £107,500. Trainee rates have not been similarly altered however, with the first-year package staying at £50,000, rising to £55,000 in the second year.

The salary hike, which will take effect from the summer when the next batch of NQs are due to arrive, sees the firm match remuneration offered at Freshfields, which announced its own salary increase at the beginning of April.

The move means CC joins Freshfields at the head of the pack among the Magic Circle. Slaughter and May, having announced another 7% salary increase last month after three separate increases in 2021, sits in third place, offering novice lawyers £115,000. Allen & Overy and Linklaters bring up the rear, offering £107,500 packages.

Although it is now leading among its London-led peers, CC still has some way to go to match many of its rivals from across the pond. Akin Gump tops the list, having announced a new rate of £164,000 last month, ahead of Gibson Dunn (£161,700), Goodwin (£161,500), Davis Polk and Fried Frank (both £160,000).