A&O thaws out associate pay freeze

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  • So, trainee pay has been frozen for the 7th consecutive year and associates have been given a pay increase that is well below the rate of inflation. And both are after a drastic reduction in trainee headcount and associate culling in the last 4 years.

    At the same time, the firm experiences flat PEP growth and yet continues to open offices the world over.

    What a strategy.

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  • "Lawyers with three-year PQE received the largest boost, seeing their pay packet go up from £85,000 to £86,000." - that's still pitence compared to the New York paying law firms. Save for those 0.01% who will make partner, why accept less money (the hours arguement is just not true).

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  • "why accept less money"

    No-one is forcing them to work for the "pitence" of £86k as a 3 years PQE lawyer. I'm sure they can all tottle off elsewhere and get much more highly paid jobs with all that legal experience under their yak leather belts.

    There is an endless supply of 3 year PQE roles at US firms isn't there?

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  • Honestly, every time a story breaks about salary rates the same old tripe is wheeled out by the same dullards who don't seem to get it.

    It doesn't compare to the US, but then neither does the working culture and demands. And you still can't explain why all those hard done by UK lawyers haven't moved to US firms.

    But the myth that really irritates me is that this is no payrise or below-inflation. We're broadly talking here about spot-rates for people with a given amount of experience. Whilst the spot rates might be going up at below inflation rates, the individuals will have earned themselves a further year's experience so they will move up to the next spot rate (normally). So, if I read the numbers in the story correctly, this year's 2PQE cohort will move from £74k to £86k (the 3PQE spot).

    That is not "well below the rate of inflation" Bingo. It's quite alot higher. Can't believe we still have to explain this every year.

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  • Anon - 2.10pm

    Yes people will move up a band and will therefore get a pay rise. That's not the issue. What is means is that a NQ will be paid less in real terms than he would have done had he been in exactly the same position a year earlier. While he is not taking a pay cut per se, the NQ position in the market has taken a pay cut. But, what do I know...just a dullard me.

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  • To: 'Anonymous | 19-Apr-2012 2:10 pm'

    What utter rubbish! When discussing the rates at which salaries are increasing compared to inflation, people are discussing the salary of the same position over time e.g. in this case, the rate of increase on the salary of someone 1PQE or whatever.

    By your logic, if law firms froze there salaries for the rest of time, it would be perfectly fine because associates would be moving from one PQE level to the next and thus receiving a pay rise higher than the rate of inflation.

    Absolute rubbish!

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  • As someone who has done the move from an English to a US firm, I can attest that aside from the pay there are downsides that make A&O's salary bands seem fair. Compared to their English brethren, at US firms the work is rarely as good and the training usually bare. Resources such as a library tend to be sparser with inferior know how. The hours may not be longer but are more irregular due to the smaller office size of US firms in London and their consequentially more erratic work flow. The general consensus of friends of mine who made the move to White Shoe practices is that standards in their London offices re generally lower than their leading English peers (and that no one is more conscious of this than the home offices such as NYC that look down on the London set up). Finally and for all those who say that they do not want to be a partner, gong to a US firm will likely damage your prospects of getting an in-house position in London or Europe.

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