Legal Business Blogs

Ropes ups the ante in the City talent war with £130k NQ pay package

In a bold play for the Boston-bred firm, Ropes & Gray has increased its London NQ salary by 8% to £130k plus bonus.

The move means a notable uptick on the previous City NQ rate of £120k and present a boon for Ropes’ appeal to young lawyers at a time of internal transition and increasing competition in the market.

The firm also said it would be retaining two out of three of its London trainees who are due to qualify into its litigation and enforcement and data privacy practices in March 2020.

Ropes’ hike gives the firm a competitive edge with peers, with the US competition last year upping the stakes considerably. Skadden gave its London NQs an extra £15k to £133k, Milbank payed £132k, Sidley Austin £130k, Weil Gotshal & Manges £130k and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton £120k.

Ropes’ training programme, which includes an international seat, has been running since 2011 and now hosts 14 trainees.

Mike Goetz, Ropes’ venerable London co-managing partner, retired at the end of last year, leaving corporate partner Will Rosen solely at the helm.

Since its London launch in 2010 the firm has promoted 15 lawyers to partner and 19 to counsel. Of its 124 London fee-earners, 46% are female and of its 23 partners, 48% are female.

Goetz had been a pivotal player in the establishment of the London office, along with the storied finance veteran Maurice Allen, with the pair defecting from White & Case in 2008 to spearhead the launch.

Last year Ropes promoted only one to partner in the form of private equity lawyer Elizabeth Todd, after a turbulent 2018 that saw four of its London real estate and restructuring partners axed in a refocus on its prized funds business.