Linklaters’ NQ pay falls behind Slaughter and May’s

Linklaters has released its pay bands for junior lawyers during 2015/16, leaving newly-qualified (NQ) pay lagging slightly behind their peers at Hogan Lovells and Slaughter and May.

Those two firms were among the first in the City to release their 2015/16 salaries in the last few weeks.

Linklaters’ pay for newly-qualifieds has increased by 5 per cent from £65,000 to £68,500. The rise means that the firm’s NQ salary has finally passed what it was in 2008 (see graph). Seven years ago, Linklaters NQs earned £66,500 a year.

First-year trainee pay also jumped 5 per cent, from £40,000 to £42,000 – the biggest rise since before the recession.

More senior lawyers are set to receive significant increases to their wage packets too, with 1-year PQE wages increasing by 5 per cent from £70,500 to £74,000 and 2PQE wages going from between £77,500 and £82,000 to between £83,250 and £88,000. This represents a 7 per cent increase at the top of the band.

At 3 PQE, Linklaters lawyers are set to earn between £92,500 and £98,500, up from between £87,500 and £93,500 – a 5 per cent increase at the top of the band.

Linklaters introduced a performance element to its 2 PQE and 3 PQE salaries in 2014, stating that its associates wanted “to see individual performance playing a greater role in overall remuneration”.

Slaughter and May is the only other magic circle firm to release its salary information so far, out-paying Linklaters at NQ and 1 PQE and paying more than Linklaters’ median offering at both 2 PQE and 3 PQE. However, as Lawyer 2B’s Training Contract Comparison Tool reveals, both firms lag behind the top-payers in the market – US firms Latham and Watkins and Davis Polk.

Linklaters graduate recruitment partner Simon Branigan said: “This year, salaries among our NQ level to 3.5 year PQE associates have risen by 7.5 per cent on average [real-term, performance-based salaries from 2013-14 to 2014-15].

“Coupled with strong performance-related bonuses – which we pay across all levels – and which for a significant majority have, in percentage terms, been in double figures on a scale that can realistically reach 35 per cent of salary, we believe that our compensation is extremely competitive and an important factor in attracting and retaining some of the brightest and best talent in the market.”

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