Junior lawyer pay continues to rise as firms battle it out for talent

updated on 28 January 2022

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Newly qualified (NQ) lawyer salaries at firms in the UK and US have skyrocketed in recent weeks as law firms continue to fight to attract and retain future legal talent.

US law firm Goodwin Procter (UK) LLP recently revealed that its NQ lawyers will now earn more than £160,000 a year – an increase of 10% from £147,000. The US firm’s bump in salary means Goodwin Procter’s NQ lawyers are now the highest paid in the UK, followed by Milbank LLP (£158,480) and Vinson & Elkins RLLP (£153,300).

The firm also boosted the salaries of its lawyers with one-, two- and three-years post-qualification experience to £169,000, £188,000 and £214, 000, respectively. The firm’s trainees can expect to receive £52,000 during their first year and £57,000 in their second.  

International firm Clyde & Co LLP has also recently announced a 14% pay increase, with its NQ lawyers in the City now receiving £80,000 a year. City firm Fieldfisher joined the ongoing pay war, which will see its NQ lawyers paid £85,000 in London and £50,000 elsewhere from February.

A spokesperson for the firm said: “While salaries are important to attract the best talent, pay isn’t everything. We pride ourselves on the strength of our Fieldfisher community, where we promote inclusiveness and diversity of all skills, strengths and perspectives, encourage innovation and endorse collegiality.”

Simmons & Simmons LLP also boosted NQ lawyer salaries at the end of last year to £100,000 in London and £68,000 in Bristol. It doesn’t stop there – Weil, Gotshal & Manges (London) LLP’s trainees are now the highest paid in the City, following pay increases; first-year trainees will earn £60,000 and second years will earn £65,000.

Meanwhile, Travers Smith LLP has upped its pay for vacation scheme candidates by 67%. Where candidates previously received £450 per week to cover expenses on the summer and winter programmes, they will now receive £750.

For a full list of vacation scheme deadlines, visit LawCareers.Net’s deadlines page.

Or, if you’re applying for training contracts, you can use LawCareers.Net’s Training contract search tool.