Herbies hikes salaries by up to 10 per cent as NQ wages surpass Linklaters’

Herbert Smith Freehills has upped its junior salaries at every level, concentrating its resources post 2 year PQE.

Two-year PQE associates will receive £87,000, up 10 per cent from £79,000 while 3 PQE associates will take home £96,500, up 8.4 per cent from £89,000. Further up the ladder, 4 PQE associates will take home £102,000, up 7.4 per cent from £95,000.

At trainee level, first years will receive a salary bump of £42,000, up 6.3 per cent from £39,500 while second year salaries will increase by 4.5 per cent from £44,000 to £46,000. Newly qualified (NQ) lawyers will take home £69,000, up 6.2 per cent from £65,000, while 1 PQE lawyers have been awarded a 5.7 per cent hike of £74,000, up from £70,000.

Last year, HSF’s salary increases saw it draw level with the magic circle. This year, it again nudged magic circle pay packets at NQ level. This season, Hogan Lovells hiked its NQ salaries to £70,000, matching Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Clifford Chance. Linklaters meanwhile lags behind, handing its NQs £68,5000.

HSF also allows associates of all levels to take home uncapped performance-related bonuses, this year awarding several bonuses in excess of 30 per cent of individuals’ salaries.

US and UK managing partner Ian Cox said: “These salary increases reflect the exceptionally strong performance of the London office over the past year, but this is also about investing in the firm’s future.

“In order to continue advising clients on their most important transactional, contentious and reputational matters we need to have available the best legal talent in the market, and offering competitive overall compensation packages at all levels is a major factor in ensuring that.”

The firm’s global turnover inched up just 2 per cent this year, though CEO Sonia Leydecker commented that the London office “continued to be a strong performer” for the firm “with the corporate and real estate practices recording outstanding years”.

Profit rose by a healthier 12 per cent, meaning that since the merger between Herbert Smith and Australia’s Freehills, profit has risen by 24 per cent.



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