Legal Business Blogs

Linklaters digs down back of sofa to match rivals’ £100k associate pay packages

Linklaters has finished off the Magic Circle’s robust response to associate pay increases from US firms in London, raising its pay package for newly-qualified solicitors (NQs) to match its rivals.

The pay boost will see the total cash payable to NQs reach £100,000, including a salary and a discretionary bonus, while top performers will be set to receive more. The firm did not disclose the new base salary – or how it would increase for more senior associates – however the figure is a considerable rise from the £83,000 in basic pay Linklaters announced last year.

The firm was the final holdout among the Magic Circle, after Allen & Overy announced last week a pay increase of 20%, from £83,000 to £100,000, including a bonus. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer was the first of the group to make a move in May, with the aim of keeping talent away from US rivals by boosting pay to £100,000 plus a discretionary bonus.

Despite the bellicose response from the Magic Circle, many US firms still comfortably exceed the pay figures. Kirkland & Ellis’ starting rate is £143,000 while Latham & Watkins offers City associates $190,000.

Outside of the Magic Circle, Macfarlanes announced today (1 July) a lucrative pay increase for its associate talent. NQs will see pay range from £98,000 to £110,250, comprising a basic salary of £85,000 and individual and firm wide bonuses, as the associate pay war ripples throughout the industry.

The pay rise also comes off the back of a 100% retention rate for trainees qualifying this September at Macfarlanes, with all 25 trainees opting to stay with the firm.