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Linklaters sets sights on future talent as it raises trainee and NQ salaries for second time

Linklaters has announced the second increase in its trainee and newly qualified (NQ) salaries this year, with the latter now bringing home £83,000 in basic pay.

NQs have seen their basic pay increase by £2,000 since the firm last increased its rates in May, while trainees in year one have become the highest paid in the Magic Circle after remuneration rose by £3,000 to £47,000. Second-year trainees have seen salaries grow by £3,500 to £52,500.

Linklaters now matches Allen & Overy (A&O)’s NQ rates at £83,000, higher than Slaughter and May’s £80,000.  Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer pays NQs £85,000 and Clifford Chance (CC) boosted NQ pay to up to £91,000 including bonuses in August. Linklaters did not disclose the size of its own bonuses.

However, first year trainees on year one at Silk Street will now bring home more than their peers at other Magic Circle firms, with their salaries surpassing CC’s £46,600 and the £45,000 at Freshfields, Slaughter and May and A&O.

Meanwhile Linklaters’ trainees in year two will also be among the highest earners in their peer group, their salary now matching CC. Meanwhile, Freshfields’ and Slaughters’ second year trainees bring home £51,000, A&O £50,000.

The raise in trainee and NQ rates comes after a mixed bag of financial results for Linklaters, which had the largest increase in revenue in its peer group, up 6% to £1.52bn, but saw profits per equity partner stay flat at £1.54m.

Linklaters, A&O, Freshfields and CC all increased their US associate salaries earlier this year, with Linklaters’ bringing wages to the same level as Cravath, Swaine & Moore and Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, which range from $190,000 to $340,000.