Ashurst and Simmons freeze associate salaries

Ashurst has slashed its newly qualified (NQ) solicitor pay and is freezing salaries for all non-partner lawyers and support staff.

Trainee solicitors who qualified with Ashurst this month (March) will receive salaries of £60,000 as opposed to the £65,000 last year’s intake received. All other lawyers and support staff will see their pay bands held at 2008 levels, despite progressing a year in qualification terms.

Simmons & Simmons is also freezing both the level of its associate pay bands and lawyers’ progression through the bands from 1 May. But it is creating a special bonus pool to reward top performers. The City firm is still to make a decision on NQ pay.

Freshfields became the first City operation to reverse its associate salary bands, as first reported on TheLawyer.com last month (<a href=”http://www.thelawyer.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=136656”>9 Feb 2009</a>).

A Freshfields lawyer with two years’ post-qualification experience (PQE) will stay on £73,000 in May rather than moving automatically to the £86,000 band paid to an associate with three years’ PQE. Meanwhile the salary paid to NQ solicitors will drop from £66,000 to £59,000.

Clifford Chance, Herbert Smith and Lovells have all said they are yet to make a decision on salaries, but none of the firms ruled out a similar move.