Quinn Emanuel hikes NQ salaries to £99,500

Quinn Emanuel has boosted its associate salaries at all levels.

The US litigation specialist does not take on trainees but newly qualified solicitors joining from other firms will now receive a salary of £99,500, a £2,000 increase, while 1PQEs get a £3,000 uplift to £108,000.

Quinn Emanuel’s London co-managing partner, Richard East, told Lawyer 2B: “We have increased our London associate salaries, because primarily we wish to be at, or around, the top of the market for salaries. 

“We compete for talent with all the top US firms and we need therefore to be very competitive in terms of salary. We are also particularly dependent on lateral hires for talent, as we don’t run a trainee scheme.”

Associates of all levels will get a pay rise, but 5PQE lawyers will get the biggest bump – a 7 per cent increase from £145,000 to £155,000.

Lawyers with seven years’ PQE previously got a flat salary of £180,000. but will now take home somewhere between £180,000 and £195,000.

Those with 8 PQE and above leave the salary scale, with their salary decided on a case by case basis.

“When hiring 8 PQEs or of counsel, we will negotiate salaries on a case by case basis, outside any scale. When we’re taking talent from the lateral market at this level, we need flexibility,” East said.

Quinn Emanuel now ranks as the third largest litigation practice in the world in terms of revenue, according to The Lawyer’s Global Litigation Top 50, with disputes bringing in $1.088bn in 2014 – 98 per cent of its total turnover.

The London office is now eight years old and accounts for around 2.6 per cent of that total figure. The firm reported a 33 per cent “bounceback” in the City last spring, with office revenue rising to £26.2m from £19.8m in 2013.

Quinn’s new pay scale does not put it at the very top of the market. Bingham McCutchen (now part of Akin Gump) was the first firm to pay £100,000 to NQs in London, in 2010. A number of other US firms have followed suit in the last five years, including Davis Polk, Sullivan & Cromwell, Latham & Watkins and, last month, both Vinson & Elkins and Weil Gotshal.

Level Previous salary New salary Percentage rise
NQ £97,500 £99,500 2
1PQE £105,000 £108,000 2.8
2PQE £111,000 £117,000 5.4
3PQE £123,000 £130,000 5.7
4PQE £135,000 £142,000 5.2
5PQE £145,000 £155,000 6.9
6PQE £160,000 £170,000 6.3
7PQE £180,000 £180,000-£195,000