Stephenson Harwood have raised salaries for newly qualified solicitors by 20 per cent to £90,000, as City law firms fight to attract and retain legal talent in an increasingly competitive market.
While newly qualified lawyers enjoy a jump up from £75,000, staff across different levels will receive bumpers, ranging from 8-17 per cent, to their pay packets too.
The move follows a summer of salary hikes by City law firms, with Ashurt, Baker McKenzie, Mayer Brown and Reed Smith all promising qualifying trainees sizable pay packets. Slaughter and May reportedly bumped up the salaries of newly qualified lawyers to £100,000 to match those of rival Clifford Chance.
The decision by Stephenson Harwood follows the firm’s re-basing of associate salaries for employees in its offices in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Singapore earlier this year.
The move, which will be put into place from the new year, will put newly qualified lawyers at Stephenson Harwood at par with peers at other firms, including Ashurst and Travers Smith.
The London-headquartered firm also increased billable hour targets for staff from 1,550 to 1,650, with 50 hours allocated to “non-fee earning work”.
The firm’s bonus scheme will be adjusted so that, from May 2022, staff who hit or surpass their target hours will be rewarded with a bonus ranging between 7 to 20 per cent of their salary.
The firm will maintain other financial incentives including a salary-fee income multiplier bonus for associates who miss their billable hours target but reach a fee income of at least four times their salary.
It follows an announcement earlier this week by Stephenson Harcourt of plans to introduce a “salary sacrifice” scheme for employees next year which would allow them to lease an electric car of their choice.
“These changes are a hugely important first step in repositioning the firm,” chief executive officer Eifion Morris reportedly said in a statement.
“We’ve taken the decision not just to adjust our base salaries for associates, but to reposition them completely,” he added.