Legal Business Blogs

Nabarro points to bonus and high performance uplift as it freezes junior lawyers pay

Nabarro has defended its decision to freeze the salaries of its trainees, newly-qualified (NQ) lawyers and those with one to two years post-qualification experience (PQE), promising that those who shine at any level will receive a 5% increase on their salary and benefit from the firm’s generous bonus scheme.

The top 30 City firm on Friday (21 June) increased median pay bands for associates with over three years PQE. Associates with three to four years PQE have seen their salaries increase by 2% from £74,500 to £76,000, while four to five year PQE lawyers will receive a raise of 3% from £77,750 to £80,000. However, first seat trainees will continue to be paid £37,000 and NQs £59,000, while one and two year PQE lawyers will remain on £64,500 and £70,000 respectively.

While this is the second year that trainee and NQ pay has been frozen a spokesman for the firm said: ‘Our focus this year, as last, is on rewarding high performing associates at any experience level with a salary which can be 5% or more above the median.’ In addition, we have hours and billings based bonus schemes in place which reward high performers with a bonus representing up to 20% of their salaries. We also have a sales bonus scheme for associates who bring in new business to the firm.’

Slaughter and May became the first major City law firm to announce a review of its associate paybands this year, with trainee salaries increasing by £1,000 to £39,000 in year one and £44,000 in year two and NQ pay up from £61,500 to £63,000.

Linklaters was the second Magic Circle firm to follow, raising newly-qualified pay from £61,500 to £64,000 while year one PQEs received a modest raise of £500.

The associates of rival Allen & Overy have ranked on the face of it as the lowest paid of its rivals so far, with salaries remaining at last year’s levels, although much like Nabarro, the firm has pointed to its generous bonus scheme  that it says keeps it competitive.

Nabarro salaries:

Salary (1st seat trainee): £37,000 held

Salary (NQ): £59,000 held

Salary (1PQE): £64,500 held

Salary (2PQE): £70,000 held

Salary (3-4PQE+): £74,500 to £76,000 up 2%

Salary (4-5PQE+):£77,750 to £80,000 up 3%