Money, money, money

Welcome to the second issue of my weekly email. The May issue of Lawyer 2B magazine should be hitting the shelves in the next few days. As always its jam-packed with must-read careers advice and articles on the latest developments in the legal market.

I wont spoil the surprise by telling you what the biggest stories are, other than to say that, if you secure a training contract with Dechert, then youre in for a pleasant surprise.

The US firm is boosting its LPC maintenance grants by a whopping 42.9 per cent, from 7,000 to 10,000 from September 2008. Im not a gambling woman, but Im willing to bet my house that other firms will follow suit. Thats exactly what happened when magic circle firm Linklaters increased its LPC grants by 40 per cent, from 5,000 to 7,000, in September 2005.

Meanwhile, a separate battle is already being fought. Unless youve been asleep for the past few weeks you should have noticed the salary war that has been raging. Clifford Chance fired the first shot this year, announcing salary hikes for associates and trainees of approximately 15 per cent.

The move caught many by surprise. Historically, Clifford Chance led the market on associate pay. It was the first of the magic circle firms to enter the 2000 salary war, the first to institute a pay freeze and the first to go the other way and slash the wages of its newly qualified lawyers. But in recent years Clifford Chance has passed the mantle on to Allen & Overy (A&O).

Following an attrition rate (the number of staff who leave a firm in a given year) that hit 25 per cent, A&O took some radical steps to boost associate morale, including overhauling is associate remuneration structure in October 2006. The move resulted in associates receiving a 15 per cent pay rise and the introduction of a bonus.

I guess the next round is on you.

PS dont forget to pass my newsletter onto your friends and suggest they sign up for it.