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Norton Rose Fulbright ups NQ salaries to Magic Circle levels

Top 10 Global 100 firm Norton Rose Fulbright (NRF) has elevated its newly-qualified (NQ) lawyer salaries to Magic Circle firm levels, putting it on a par with Linklaters and Slaughter and May.

Backdated to 1 May, NQs have received an increase of 3% to £65,000, while first-year trainees are up to £39,500 from £38,000 the year before and second-year trainees now make £44,500.

The increases bring the firm broadly in line with Linklaters, which this year increased its NQ pay by £1,000 to £65,000, while first-seat trainee pay by rose by £500 to £40,000. Slaughter and May announced its new salary bands in late April, under which first year trainees receive £500 more than last year, bringing their pay up to £39,500. Second year trainees received £1000 more, boosting their salary to £45,000 and NQs were awarded a £2000 raise to £65,000.

NRF’s EMEA head of human resources, Lak Purewal said: ‘It is essential that we attract and retain high quality people, and ensuring our salaries are competitive is one of the ways to achieve this goal.’

Remaining ahead of the pack however, is Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer which this year unveiled a significant pay rise for NQs and one-year PQE lawyers. The global elite firm upped pay packets for first and second year trainees to £40,500 and £45,500 respectively. NQ and one year post qualification experience (PQE) lawyers – known as career milestone (CM) foundation – will see their pay bracket rise from 2012’s level of £65,000 – £72,000 to £67,500 – £77,500.

Meanwhile, rival Magic Circle firm Clifford Chance this year announced salary hikes across the board, with NQs set to see their salary rise to £67,500 from £63,500, with the maximum bonus awarded potentially bringing the total to £81,000 for the 2014/15 year. First year trainees will receive an increase from £39,000 to £40,500, and year two trainees will receive an extra £1,500 to £45,500.

NRF’s salary boosts follows the announcement this morning (8 July) of the firm’s first year post merger financial results for 2013/14, which recorded revenues of $1.851bn with profit per equity partner (PEP) estimated at $660,000, projecting the firm into the top 10 of the Global 100 for 2013/14. Further unaudited figures show revenue per lawyer came in at $528,000 and profit per lawyer stood at $188,000 at the 3,537-lawyer firm.