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Slaughter and May raises associate pay with NQs getting £5,000 boost

Traditionally a bellwether of trainee and associate salaries among the Magic Circle, Slaughter and May has made significant hikes to the salaries it pays junior lawyers.

Again the first Magic Circle law firm to publish its salaries for the next financial year, taking effect on 1 May, newly qualified lawyers at Slaughters will receive £5,000 more than last year, rising 8% from £65,000 to £70,000 as competition for talent hots up in the City.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer was the highest paying Magic Circle firm for newly qualified lawyers in 2014, pegging their salaries at £67,500. Demand for talent has increased in recent years following the expansion of US firms in the City, with newly qualified lawyers at Davis Polk & Wardwell paying £100,000 a year.

Large increases have been built into all of the pay scales, with the biggest percentage rise coming for those that are two years’ qualified, with salaries going up from £79,000 to £87,000, a rise of over 10% while those with three years under their belt will receive £8,500 more than in 2014, with salaries rising by over 8% to £96,500.

Trainee salaries only marginally moved up, with a rise of just over 2% build into first year trainees to take their annual income up £1,000 to £41,000 and £46,000.

Richard Clark, executive partner of Slaughters, told Legal Business: ‘Our intention is always to make sure our lawyers are properly remunerated in accordance with the market so there is an element of market referencing as you would expect.’

The rise follows a bumper payday at the end of last year when the firm increased Christmas bonuses across the board. Associates between 4.5-6.5 PQE took home bonuses of 15% at the end of 2014, compared to 12% at the end of 2013.

The new salary bands are as follows:

Trainee year 1: Up 2.5% from £40,000 to £41,000

Trainee year 2: Up 2.5% from £45,000 to £46,000

Newly qualified: Up 7.7% from £65,000 to £70,000

One year’s PQE: Up 7.9% from £70,000 to £75,500

Two years’ PQE: Up 10.1% from £79,000 to £87,000

Three years’ PQE: Up £8.4% from £89,000 to £96,500