London law firm Bird & Bird has given its newly qualified (NQ) lawyers a pay hike for the second time this year.
The law firm has given its NQ lawyers a five per cent pay rise in upping their annual pay to £92,400 per year, a Bird & Bird spokesperson told City A.M.
The pay hike comes as the second salary increase handed out to Bird & Bird’s NQs this year, after the London firm gave its new lawyers a 24 per cent pay rise in February in upping their salaries to £88,000 per year.
Bird & Bird’s pay hikes, which come into effect today, put it slightly ahead of London rivals Fieldfisher and Pinsent Masons, who both offer their NQs £92,000 a year, LegalCheek analysis shows.
The salary increases also push Bird & Bird’s NQ salaries above those offered by ‘Silver Circle’ law firm Mishcon de Reya.
A Bird & Bird spokesperson said: “We are constantly looking at our employee salaries, wider offerings and packages to ensure we remain competitive”.
Bird & Bird’s decision to increase NQ pay for the second time in 2022 comes after the firm froze its trainees’ salaries in 2020 at rates of £40,000 in their first year and £44,000 in their second year.
The 2022 salary hikes come as the majority of UK law firms have continued hiring new lawyers, despite the headwinds currently facing the British economy.
A Bird & Bird spokesperson said that although the firm is “conscious of the economic headwinds” facing UK businesses, the law firm “continues to grow strongly”.
Legal sector analysts have claimed law firms have continued to hire due to fears of repeating the mistakes made during the 2008 financial crash, after which firms struggled to rehire.
The approach is likely to see a continuation of the ongoing battle for talent, that has seen the City’s top law firms offer increasing high salaries in their efforts to win over talent.
The City talent war comes as a result of the past two years’ boom in demand for legal services as a result of the economic impacts of Covid-19.
The arrival of higher-paying US law firms into the UK market for legal services has further intensified the City’s talent war.
The plummeting value of the UK’s sterling has in turn seen the salaries handed out to NQ lawyers paid in dollars surge in recent months, to heights of £179,000 a year.
Salaries are generally the largest costs on law firms’ balances sheets.