Magic circle law firms continue newly qualified salary war

updated on 05 May 2023

Reading time: one minute

The newly qualified (NQ) solicitor ‘pay war’ continues as Linklaters LLP and Allen & Overy LLP each increase NQ lawyer salaries to £125,000 to match magic circle counterparts Clifford Chance and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP.

From Monday 1 May, NQs at both firms saw a 16% pay rise from £107,500 to £125,000. This is a change in stance from last year when Allen & Overy held the line and refused to raise NQ pay to match its rivals.

Both firms offer the same starting salary for trainees, paying £50,000 in the first year before rising to £55,000 in the second year.

In terms of headcount, Linklaters is one of the most substantial training contract providers in the City, offering 100 places each year while Allen & Overy offers around 90 training contracts each year. The only firm to top these numbers is Clifford Chance which provides 110 training contracts and hosts the largest trainee cohort in London.

The remaining magic circle member Slaughter and May’s NQ salary starts at £115,000.