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Pay for today: Slaughters boosts associate remuneration package to £100k as talent war intensifies

Slaughter and May is bolstering associate pay to a £100,000 including bonuses, becoming the latest of the City elite to play its hand on lawyer salaries.

The move comes after Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Clifford Chance (CC) both hiked their newly-qualified (NQ) pay to £100,000 in a bid to head off the ever-increasing threat from US rivals.

In a statement Slaughters said: ‘In accordance with our policy of keeping our associate remuneration competitive in the market, we have decided to increase our newly qualified associates’ remuneration (salary and bonus) to a minimum of £100,000.’

Slaughters did not disclose how the salaries would rise for associates beyond NQ but the firm is expected to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ for more senior associates. The pay jump is considerably more drastic than the increases the firm announced in December of last year, when NQs saw their pay rise to £83,000 from £80,000, an increase of 4%.

Associates with six months of post-qualification experience (PQE) were handed a rise of £2,000 to earn £86,000 while one-year and 18 months PQE associates saw rises to £89,000 and £93,750 respectively.

Attention will now turn to Linklaters and Allen & Overy, who both set their NQ rates at £83,000 in their most-recent reviews last year. However, questions will be raised around how firms will manage the costs of the latest pay war, while many US firms still comfortably exceed the new standard set in the Magic Circle. Kirkland & Ellis’ starting rate is £143,000 while Latham & Watkins offers its City associates a lucrative $190,000.

Slaughters added: ‘We continue to value and recognise everyone’s contribution by rewarding our associates in a way that reflects the partnership’s flat lockstep structure and by not imposing billing or time recording targets.’