Linklaters hikes junior salaries to £107,500 to leapfrog Magic Circle rivals

Linklaters has hiked salaries for its newly qualified lawyers to £107,500, pulling away from its Magic Circle rivals in the pay war raging in the sector.

The raise equates to a salary bump of £7,500 and marks the second time Linklaters has increased newly qualified lawyer pay this year, having upped packets in July as well.

The increase takes effect in November. Linklaters associates are also eligible to receive a performance-related bonus.

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Linklaters raised pay for newly qualified lawyers from £92,500 to £100,000 two months ago. Linklaters’ Magic Circle rivals Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance and Slaughter and May had all also raised their newly qualified lawyer pay to £100,000 this summer.

Linklaters’ move away from that apparent benchmark raises questions as to whether the other Magic Circle firms will follow suit in raising pay again.

The salary increase also narrows the gap between Linklaters and the leading US law firms in London which are now paying newly qualified lawyers more than £140,000 per year in basic salary.

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US law firm Shearman & Sterling recently boosted pay before bonuses for its newly qualified lawyers in London to £145,000. The firm had raised pay in April from £120,000 to £135,000, but increased pay again after US rivals such as Weil Gotshal & Manges and Milbank hiked newly qualified lawyers’ pay in London to more than £140,000 before bonuses.

US firm Goodwin Procter upped its London newly qualified salary to £137,500 in February, before boosting it again to £147,000 in July, the same month Texas-headquartered firm Vinson & Elkins upped its London newly qualified pay to £153,400.

Lawyers qualify after a two-year training contract. First-year trainees at Linklaters are paid £50,000 and second-year trainees are paid £55,000.

To contact the author of this story with feedback or news, email James Booth

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