London’s oldest law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer is set to pay its newly qualified lawyers more than any other Magic Circle law firm, after upping pay for its new associates to £125,000 a year.
Freshfields salary hike will see it pay NQs considerably more than its Magic Circle rivals – including Clifford Chance, Linklaters, Allen & Overy, and Slaughter & May – which all pay their freshly qualified lawyers £107,500 a year.
The London law firm’s pay hike comes as its first salary rise since the start of the pandemic, after the firm last upped its NQ salaries to £100,000 a year in May 2019.
Nonetheless, Freshfields’ 25 per cent pay rise leaves it lagging behind its US rivals, which pay their newly qualified associates up to £161,700 a year.
Freshfields London Managing Partner Claire Wills said “We remain focused on attracting and rewarding the highest quality talent to deliver excellence for our clients.”
“We believe that our package of financial and non-financial incentives, including paid qualification leave and career development opportunities, underpinned by effective work allocation and an inclusive working environment, offers a truly market-leading proposition.”
The City law firm’s fresh pay rise threatens to spark a fresh battle for talent between London’s Magic Circle firms.
The pay rise comes as critics have argued young lawyers are being overloaded with work to justify their eye-watering salaries.
In February, DWF chief executive Sir Nigel Knowles called on law firms to do more to attract young talent, as he argued the extraordinary salaries being paid out to young lawyers are being used as a “sticking plaster” to fix the sector’s recruitment crisis.