London Law Firm Talent War Drives Starting Pay Above £100,000 at More Firms

The pay war among top law firms continues to rage in London as firms compete to offer salaries in excess of 100,000 pounds ($138,490).

Newly-qualified solicitors at Macfarlanes LLP can now expect a six-figure pay package, approaching the remuneration offered by London’s top Magic Circle firms and intensifying the talent war fueled by U.S. firms in London, who pay the most.

Junior lawyers, qualifying after two years as trainees at the firm, will see their annual base salary rise by 5,000 pounds to 90,000 pounds, with their total package passing six figures, the firm said in an emailed statement. The firm will also raise its trainees’ salaries to 48,000 pounds and 52,500 pounds for its first and second-year recruits respectively.

“Our expectation is that our newly qualified solicitors will earn in excess of £100k this financial year taking into account all elements of their package,” the firm said, announcing that 22 of its 25 trainees are staying with the firm this September.

Macfarlanes’ new salary packages are approaching those touted by the most prestigious U.K. law firms, many of whom upped their base pay to 100,000 pounds this year. Magic Circle firms Linklaters LLP, Clifford Chance LLP and Allen & Overy LLP all offer six figure base salaries for newly-qualified hires.

However, U.K. firms still pay their London employees less than many top U.S. firms, who are trying to secure the British capital’s top candidates. Houston-based Vinson & Elkins LLP offers their junior lawyers in London 153,400 pounds a year.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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