Akin Gump reveals trainee salary increases, sticks to Bingham’s £100k pay packet for NQs

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld has revealed increased salaries for its junior workforce, maintaining legacy Bingham McCutchen’s £100,000 NQ salary.

The US firm hired the entirety of Bingham’s London office in September last year, including trainees who were yet to join the firm. It has now recruited another trainee to join the two ex-Bingham trainees already contracted to start in September 2015.

The incoming first-year trainees will be paid £43,000 while second-years will receive a salary of £48,000. The salary increases will be applicable from September 2015. The increases represent a rise of 7.5 per cent for first years and 6.6 per cent for second years, up from £40,000 and £45,000 respectively.

In 2010, Bingham McCutchen hiked its NQ salary to £100,000, stunning the market at the time. Several US firms, including Latham & Watkins and Davis Polk, now offer similar pay packets, which correspond to the $160,000 paid to first-year New York associates.

The rises at trainee level are just pipped by Shearman & Sterling’s salary increases. Shearman will now pay first year trainees £45,000 and second years £50,000. But at £88,000 its NQ salary is still dwarfed by Akin’s £100,000.

Akin Gump increased opportunities for junior lawyers this year, establishing vacation schemes and bolstering its trainee options with the addition of the Bingham team. 

It historically ran informal work experience programmes, populating it with around half a dozen students through its graduate recruitment work on campus and inviting applicants to apply via cover letter and CV but has now moved to a formal process.

The firm revealed in January that it was hoping to take on four trainees from September 2016 and says it now hopes to have five or six trainees per year from 2017 onwards.