Akin Gump overhauls associate salaries as pound plummets

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld has carried out a UK salary review for its associates and counsel, opting to pay its junior lawyers according to moving exchange rates.

The review followed the result of the EU Referendum, which led to a decline in the value of the pound against the dollar.

The change means the firm’s associates and counsel will be paid quarterly rather than monthly, and pay will be based on a variable exchange rate rather than a fixed salary.

“Any US firm in London has to think about the impact of the fall in sterling,” London senior partner James Roome told The Lawyer.

“The sterling rate is very volatile and we’re keeping up with the moving exchange rate, to ensure we continue to pay the top-end US rates.”

As a result, all of Akin Gump’s lawyers in the US and UK will receive the same salary based on current exchange rates.

Akin Gump increased its base salaries before Brexit to match Cravath Swaine & Moore’s $180,000 pay packets for junior lawyers.

Cravath’s decision to up its lawyers’ pay in New York led a number of firms following suit, with Kirkland & Ellis, Latham & Watkins and Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy all putting its UK associates on the new US pay scale.

The magic circle firms also announced they would increase their US salaries, although their lawyers in London are still paid significantly less.


How much are you worth? Download The Lawyer Salary Survey 2016.