Herbies latest to nudge up to magic circle rates with NQ salary boost

Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) has revealed pay increases for its trainees and newly-qualified (NQ) lawyers in London, and now pays its NQs as much as the magic circle.

The firm will now pay its NQs £65,000, matching Linklaters’ newly-raised salary for its NQs (12 May 2014). The figure is an increase of 3 per cent on last year and matches the new NQ rate revealed last week by Hogan Lovells (27 May 2014).

First year trainees at HSF will now earn £39,500, up from £39,000, while their second-year counterparts will receive £44,000, the same as last year. 

Meanwhile, pay for one year PQE lawyers rose £1,000, to £70,000 while those at two-year PQE will see salaries rise £2,000, to £79,000. Pay for three-year PQEs has risen £1,000, to £89,000.

The salary increases, which are almost identical to HSF’s pay review last year (5 June 2013), just pip Silver Circle companion Ashurst’s raises. Ashurst announced that it would pay first year trainees £39,000, second-years £44,000 and NQs £63,000 last month (16 May 2014).

Many firms are yet to publish salary bands for 2014/15, but for those that have – Allen & Overy, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Hogan Lovells – there have been increases across the board. 

HSF’s latest review means its NQ rate in London now matches that of Linklaters and Slaughter and May (see below).

Last month the firm lifted its pay freeze on salaries in Australia (23 May 2014), with permanent staff in to be told about their salary increases in July. 

Magic circle salaries 2014/15

Firm NQ 1 PQE 2 PQE 3 PQE CM2 (4 PQE) CM3 (6 PQE)
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer £67,500-£77,500 N/A £87,700-£100,000 N/A £107,500-£115,000 £120,000-£135,000
Linklaters £65,000 £70,500 £82,000 £93,500    
Slaughter and May £65,000 £70,000 £79,000