Legal Business Blogs

HSF enters pay war with newly-qualified base salaries above Linklaters and Slaughters

Herbert Smith Freehills has significantly bumped up pay packets, awarding its associates with a base salary of £82,000, up £13,000 on last year’s £69,000.

With flexibility to reward its high performing associates, newly qualified (NQ) lawyers have had their pay set between £82,000 and £90,000. At the top of the pay scale, those with three years’ post qualified experience (PQE) will have the opportunity to earn between £112,000 and £122,000, a 26% rise on last year’s £89,000.

Trainees at the firm have also had a boost to their pay packets; first years will receive a 4.8% increase to £44,000, while second years will be given an extra £4,000.

UK, US and EMEA regional managing partner Ian Cox said the approach to pay had not changed a result of the EU referendum.

Cox added: ‘The vote will have no immediate impact on the firm’s operations other than any arising from general effects on the UK economy and we are focused on providing our clients around the world with counsel and support as they navigate the implications of the UK’s vote to leave the EU.’

The strong increase in salaries follows a general round up across the board with many of the Magic Circle firms wrapping its bonuses into base salaries.

At Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, NQ pay packets were boosted by an extra £17,500 after the firm announced it would be folding in its discretionary bonuses, with pay set to rise 26% to £85,000 on last year’s figure of £67,500. Clifford Chance has also set its associate pay at £85,000 compared to £70,000 before bonuses in 2015.

NQ lawyers at Linklaters can expect to take home slightly less, with the firm posting salaries of £81,000 next year including bonus. High performers will on average earn £91,000 including bonus, up on last year’s basic £68,500 salary. One-year PQE associates will on average receive £90,000, with two-year PQE and three-year PQE associates receiving £100,000 and £111,000. However, high-performing lawyers will receive substantially more than their Freshfields counterparts, with one-year PQEs set to earn £101,000. High-performing two-year PQEs will earn £119,000 and high-performing three-year PQEs will earn £130,000. That is up on the £98,500 basic salary three-year PQEs would have received last year.

Meanwhile, Slaughter and May released more subdued salary increases, with salaries for NQs up 2% from £70,000 to £71,500, while lawyers with one year’s PQE will see their salaries go up to £79,000 from £75,500.

Herbert Smith Freehills 2016/2017 associate pay

First year trainees – £44,000

Second year trainees – £48,000

NQs – from £82,000 to £90,000

1 year PQE – from £87,000 to £95,000

2 year PQE – from £97,000 to £107,000