Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has boosted newly qualified solicitors’ salaries by almost 26 per cent to £85,000.
The increase follows a static year for NQ pay at the magic circle firm in 2015, when starting pay sat at £67,500.
The latest raise means Freshfields NQs are now no longer eligible for a discretionary bonus. A statement from the firm said the new salary “exceeds the previous salary and bonus combined”.
The jump puts NQ salaries ahead of Clifford Chance and Allen & Overy, though behind Linklaters. Allen & Overy increased pay for its NQs by 18 per cent last year to £78,000. Clifford Chance pays NQs £70,000.
Linklaters increased NQ salaries from £68,500 to £91,000 including bonuses last year.
Freshfields has also put up trainee salaries as of from 1 May 2016. First year trainees will now receive £43,000, up almost 5 per cent, while second year trainees will be paid £48,000, up 4.3 per cent.
London managing partner Julian Long said: “Our ability to attract and retain the most talented individuals is critical to our continued success. Our combination of high quality work, client interaction and global platform mean that our trainees and associates experience an outstanding start to their career.
“Obviously we should not underestimate the need to be competitive with regards to pay in our market; we believe that making changes across the board for our trainees and associates maintains our strong position as one of the most attractive firms in the market.”
Freshfields currently takes on 80 trainees a year.